Weekly Market Recap – March 17, 2023

On Tuesday, a Russian fighter jet struck a U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea. According to the Pentagon, the impact damaged the drone’s propeller, causing its operators to bring it down in international waters. This event is the first known contact between Russian and American military assets since Russia invaded Ukraine thirteen months ago. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin, citing accusations that the Russian president is responsible for the abduction of children from Ukraine. The day after the biggest U.S. banks gave it a $30 billion infusion, First Republic Bank (FRC) was in talks to sell portions of its business to other banks or private equity firms. As the week ended, the FRC shares slid to 23.03, its lowest close since 2011, down 81% month-to-date.

Monthly economic statistics released during the week, compared with the prior month, were as follows: consumer price index +0.4% vs. +0.5%, core CPI +0.5 vs. +0.4, CPI (year-over-year) +6.0% vs. +6.4%, core CPI (year-over-year) +5.5% vs. +5.6%, producer price index -0.1% vs. +0.3%, core PPI +0.2% vs. +0.5%, PPI (year-over-year) +4.6% vs. +5.7%, core PPI (year-over-year) unchanged at +4.4%, retail sales -0.4% vs. +3.2%, retail sales excluding motor vehicles -0.1% vs. +2.4%, industrial production 0.0% vs. +0.3%, capacity utilization rate unchanged at 78.0%, business inventories -0.1% vs. +0.3%, consumer sentiment index 63.4 vs. 67.0 and leading economic indicators +0.3% vs. -0.3%. Weekly numbers showed initial jobless claims fell to 192,000 from 212,000 and continuing unemployment claims were 1.68 million vs. 1.71 million. There were no significant quarterly reports.

In response to ongoing banking sector turmoil, stock markets gyrated throughout the week, showing some relief alternating with continued uneasiness by investors in the three indices we follow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 31,861.98 (-0.1%). The S&P 500 rose 1.4% to 3,916.64, and the NASDAQ Composite went out at 11,630.51 (+4.4%). Volatility in equities increased 2.9% for the week, evidenced by CBOE’s VIX settling at 25.51 on Friday. In currencies, the trend of the USD Index improved, with the futures closing at 103.360 (-0.8%). The portfolio of commodity futures contracts in the S&P GSCI ended the week at 541.62 (-6.0%).

The precious and industrial metal groups we monitor moved in opposite directions. For the former, the settlement prices and weekly percentage increases were: gold at $1,973.50 (+5.7%), silver at $22.462 (+9.5%), platinum at $978.60 (+1.7%), palladium at $1,386.10 (+1.7%). Results on the downside for the two base metals we track were: copper at $3.8925 (-3.4%) and aluminum at $2,274.00 (-1.7%).

All of the energy contracts that we survey tumbled lower. Here’s how they played out: WTI crude at $66.74 per barrel (-13.0%), Brent crude at $72.97 (-11.9%), heating oil at $2.6787 per gallon (-3.4%), RBOB gasoline at $2.5015 (-5.5%), NYMEX natural gas at $2.338 per MMBtu (-3.8%), and ICE TTF Dutch gas at €42.857 per MWh (-18.9%).

Of the nine agricultural futures on our watch list, three advanced, and six retreated. The gainers were: corn at $6.34¼ (+2.8%), wheat at $7.10½ (+4.6%), and cocoa at $2,738 (+1.3%). Those that fell into the red were: soybeans at $14.76½ (-2.0%), coffee at $1.7660 per pound (-0.7%), sugar at 20.67¢ (-2.3%),) cotton at 77.83¢ (-0.4%), live cattle at 162.325 (-1.2%) and lean hogs at 79.875 (-8.7%).

Futures Referenced in Market Recap

ExchangeCommodityContract Month
CMELive CattleApril
CMELean HogsApril
ICEBrent CrudeMay
ICEDutch TTF GasApril
ICEUSD IndexJune
NYMEXULSD (Heating Oil)April
NYMEXRBOB (Gasoline)April
NYMEXNatural GasApril
LMEAluminum3 Mo. Forward

Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone.

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