Weekly Market Recap – January 15, 2021
In the Markets
Thursday’s jobless claim report was sharply higher, coming in at 965,000, 16.3% greater than the average of 830,000 expected by Wall Street analysts. The unexpected increase set the tone for a slight stock market selloff that persisted to the week’s end, despite the positive signals from president-elect Biden’s stimulus plan. CPI for December was up 0.4% vs. October’s 0.2% change. The PPI for December rose 0.3%, compared with 0.1% from a month earlier. Industrial production rose 1.6%, stronger than the prior month’s revised change of -0.5%. The retail sales report for December was -0.7%, an improvement over November’s revision of -1.4%. The global death toll from coronavirus passed the 2 million mark on Friday.
As mentioned above, equities mostly ebbed, going into the three-day Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. The DJIA fell 0.9% (down 283.71), going out at 30,814.26 on Friday. There was a 56.43 loss for the S&P 500 (-1.5%) closing at 3,768.25. The NASDAQ Composite index followed suit, also receding by 1.5% to its 12,998.50 closing price. Exhibiting some resilience, the Russell 2000 increased 1.4%, with a 2.32 rise to 169.98 points at settlement. Volatility returned by 12.9%, as measured by the CBOE VIX, which added 2.78, ending at 24.34 for the week, it’s highest level since November 6. In currencies, the US Dollar Index strengthened with a gain of 0.72 (+0.8%) to close at 90.78, its highest closing end-of-week value since December 11 (90.98). Commodity markets pushed the S&P GSCI slightly higher; it increased 4.19 (+1.0%), finishing at 431.74, for a twelve-month high.
Metal markets were relatively uneventful. In futures, April gold eased slightly, paring $5.50 last week, to end at $1,829.90 per ounce (-0.3%). Silver gained 22.9¢ (+0.9%) to $24.866 in the March contract. Platinum ticked up $18.60 to close at $1,089.90 (+1.7%), and palladium’s $30.10 rise to $2,395.10 was 1.3% higher than the previous Friday’s close. The base metals were soft. CME copper slipped 7.15¢ (-1.9%) settling at $3.6020 per pound, and LME aluminum ended the week at $1,991.00 per ton, a decline of $30.50 (-1.5%).
On the charts, the energy complex took a breather in both directions. NYMEX crude oil prices booked a small increase, as the front month WTI ended Friday’s session at $52.36, which was up 12¢ (+0.2.%). ICE Brent retreated 89¢ (-1.6%), settling at $55.10 per barrel. The refined product prices diverged: heating oil rose and gasoline fell. ULSD added 1.38¢ to close at $1.5942 (+0.9%), while RBOB shed 1.28¢ (-0.8%), settling at $1.5277 for the week. Natural gas went out at $2.737 in the February contract, with a 3.7¢ rise (+1.4%).
In the agricultural commodity markets that we report here, the increases outweighed the decreases. Corn, with its $5.31½ close, advanced 35¼¢ (+7.1%) for the week. Wheat ended up at $6.75½ after rising 36¾¢ (+5.8%). Soybeans settled at $14.16¾ per bushel, up 41¢ (+3.0%). ICE US coffee added 4.45 to 128.15 (+3.6%). Cocoa, for the week, firmed $11 (+0.4%), closing at $2,527 per ton. Sugar kept rising, gaining 0.85 (+5.4%) to its 16.45 settlement, another new high. December cotton advanced 0.93¢ (+1.2%) to its 80.70 closing price. Livestock was the only negative mover in the Ag group, as cattle futures dropped 1.705 (-1.5%) to a 112.770 final print, while hogs eased 0.780 (-1.1%) ending the week at 67.920 for February delivery.
World Cup Trading Championships®
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Jan Smolen finished the week in 1st with a net return of 161.9%. Stefan Seibert finished the week in 2nd with a 141.2% net return. 3rd place is currently held by M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG with a net return of 81.1%. Adrian Koemel and Fernando C. Piñeiro finished the week in 4th and 5th with 80.5% and 64.1% net returns respectively.
In the 2020 World Cup Trading Championships® Futures division, Stefan Seibert finished in 1st with a 342.3% net return. Brent Carlile took 2nd with a net return of 287.9%. Yuwen Cao took 3rd with a net return of 262.9%. Michael O’Keeffe and Evgeny Kartashov rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 249% and 165.8% respectively. (Final Pending Audit)
In the 2020 World Cup Trading Championships® Forex division, Jan Smolen finished in 1st with a 113.9% net return. Scott Welsh took 2nd with a 78.7% net return, followed by Sergey Shirko taking 3rd with a net return of 61.8%. Irwan Ariston and Oliver Bjoerklund rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 51% and 19.7% respectively. (Final Pending Audit)
Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. World Cup Championship (WCC ) accounts do not necessarily represent all the trading accounts controlled by a given competitor. WCC competitors may control accounts that produce results substantially different than the results achieved in their WCC accounts. WCC entrants may trade more than one account in the competition. CME Group is the trademark of CME Group, Inc. The Globe logo is a trademark of Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc.