Weekly Market Recap – June 4, 2021
The weekly initial jobless tally was 385,000 new claims vs. the previous 405,000. Nonfarm payrolls showed a 559,000 increase; Wall Street had predicted 671,000. The unemployment rate is now 5.8% vs. 6.1% a month ago. Some analysts attributed the uptick in the labor market to more Americans getting vaccinated, and the easing of pandemic restrictions that propelled a burst of economic activity. Yet, there are 7.6% fewer jobs now than in February 2020. Construction spending rose 0.2% for April, compared with the 1.0% increase in March. April factory orders fell 0.6% vs. a prior 1.4% increase.
The benchmarks in the equities indices we track here moved slightly higher for the week: the DJIA rose 0.7%, closing at 34,756.39 on Friday, the S&P 500 increased to 4,229.89 (+0.6%), while the NASDAQ Composite ended at 13,814.49 (+0.5%). Volatility eased somewhat, as per CBOE’s VIX, which settled at 16.42 (-2.0%). The U.S. Dollar Index ticked up 0.1%, to go out trading 90.13 at the week’s end. Commodities, as a group, strengthened. The S&P GSCI closed at 533.73 (+2.8%), its highest level since October 2014.
Except for palladium, the metals on our radar declined in price. July silver slipped 0.4%, ending at $27.896 per troy ounce. Gold eased 0.7% to its $1,889.80 settlement price. Platinum fell -1.5% to its $1,164.40 close. Palladium traders managed to produce a positive net change (+0.5%) to its $2,837.90 final mark. Base metals backed off as well, with July COMEX copper closing at $4.5290/lb., and LME aluminum dropping 1.1% to $2,455.00 per metric ton.
On the price charts, energy futures kept rising. NYMEX WTI added 5.0% to reach $69.62 per barrel. ICE Brent crude increased 3.2%; ending at $71.89 on Friday: crude’s highest level since October 2018. U.S. refined products advanced as follows: ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel rose 4.0%, closing the week at $2.1199, and RBOB gasoline added 3.5% to $2.2115 per gallon. Natural gas firmed by 3.7%, taking the July futures to $3.097 per mmBtu.
Among the nine agricultural products featured here, gainers outnumbered losers 7 to 2. Soybeans closed at $15.83¾ (+3.5%), wheat moved up 3.7%, ending the week at $6.87¾, while corn settled at $6.82¾ (+4.0%). Coffee showed a slight downturn this week; the July contract lost 0.4%, closing at $1.6165 per pound. Cocoa inched a bit lower, declining 0.1% to its $2,409/ton settlement. Sugar ended the week at 17.71¢ per pound (+2.0%). Cotton prices rallied 4.0%, taking the July futures to 85.80¢. The cyberattack on JBS (the world’s largest processor of beef and pork products) seemed a flash in the pan, as the livestock markets we track ended the week subdued, considering live cattle’s volatile plunge on Monday. Cattle’s weekly move was a 0.8% gain, closing at 116.825, while live hog contracts climbed 1.9% to a 119.500 settlement.
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