Weekly Market Recap – March 18, 2022

As the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine worsens, Russian airstrikes occurred within 11 miles of Poland’s border, where NATO forces are stationed on high alert. A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Japan’s coast near Fukushima on Wednesday night, affecting the eastern part of the country, including Tokyo. The Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is driving cases in the UK and Europe. Public health officials are concerned that this variant could cause another COVID-19 wave in the US.

The Federal Reserve raised the federal funds rate by one-quarter of a percentage point, its first increase since December 2018. Monthly economic statistics, compared with previous levels, were as follows: the producer price index +0.8% vs. +1.2%, retail sales +0.3% vs. +4.9%, business inventories +1.1% vs. +1.1%, housing starts 1.77 million vs. 1.66 million, building permits 1.86 million vs.1.80 million, existing home sales 6.02 million vs. 6.49 million, industrial production +0.6% vs. +1.4%, capacity utilization 77.6% vs. 77.3%, and the index of leading economic indicators +0.3% vs. -0.5%. Weekly initial jobless claims eased to 214,000 from 229,000 the prior week.

The three stock market indices we track in this report rallied throughout the week, closing at one-month highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 5.5%, going out at 34,754.93 on Friday. The S&P 500 advanced to 4,463.12 (+6.2%), and the NASDAQ Composite jumped to 13,893.84 (+8.2%). Volatility receded, according to the CBOE VIX, dropping to 23.87 points (-22.4%). In currencies, the USD index slipped to 98.23 (-0.9%). Physical commodity prices deflated a bit, as the S&P GSCI portfolio closed down to 725.61 at the week’s end (-2.1%).

Except for copper, the metal futures we follow went south. The copper rose to $4.7395 per lb. (+2.5%). For the other five, settlement prices and percentage losses were as follows: gold at $1,929.30 per Troy ounce (-2.8%), silver at $25.087 (-4.1%), platinum at $1,035.90 (-4.8%), palladium at $2,493.00 (-10.9%), and aluminum at $3,381 per metric ton (-2.9%).

Four of the six energy products in our recap lost ground, and two gained. The two crude oil benchmarks, WTI and Brent, each weakened by 4.2%; the former ended at $104.70, and the latter went out at $107.93 per barrel. Heating oil rose to $3.5981 per gallon (+5.3%), and RBOB gasoline slid down to $3.2388 (-2.2%). NYMEX natural gas regained 2.9%, closing at $4.863 per MMBtu, while ICE Dutch TTF gas had a hard fall to €105.044 per MwH (-20.0%).

The score was two higher and seven lower in the nine agricultural markets that we monitor. Friday settlement results were: soybeans at $16.68 per bushel; (-0.5%), corn at $7.41¾ (-2.7%), wheat at $10.63¾ (-3.9%), coffee at $2.2005 per pound (-0.9%), sugar at 18.93¢ (-1.6%), cocoa at $2,537 per ton (-3.2%), cotton at $126.86¢ (+4.8%), live cattle at 140.500 (+2.3%), and lean hogs at 99.400 (-3.2%).


Futures Referenced in Market Recap

ExchangeCommodityContract Month
CMELive CattleApril
CMELean HogsApril
ICEBrent CrudeMay
ICEDutch TTF GasApril
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. 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.

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