Weekly Market Recap – March 3, 2023

Mortgage rates in the US rose for the fourth consecutive week as inflation concerns remain. Currently, 6.6% is the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage, which had been trending downward after hitting 7.08% in November. Eli Lilly announced it would cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 for many people with diabetes. According to newly released numbers from the Federal Trade Commission, Americans lost $8.8 billion on scams and fraud last year, 30% over the losses in 2021.

Monthly economic statistics reported during the week, compared with prior levels, were as follows: S&P Case-Shiller national home price index (20 cities) +4.6% vs. +6.8%, construction spending -0.1% vs. -0.7%, pending home sales +8.1% vs. +1.1%, consumer confidence index 102.9 vs. 106.0 and durable goods orders -4.5% vs. +5.1%. The weekly job numbers showed that initial jobless claims decreased to 190,000 from the previous 192,000, and continuing unemployment claims remained unchanged at 1.65 million. Revised quarterly stats for Q4 compared with Q3 showed that productivity rose 1.7% vs. +3.0% and unit labor costs were +3.2% vs. +1.1%.

After sliding lower all week, stocks snapped back on Friday as investors interpreted Fed comments to indicate an easing of the central bank’s rate hike strategy. The three indices we track all made a decent comeback rally: the DJIA ended the week at 33,390.97 (+1.7%), the S&P 500 finished at 4,045.64 (+1.9%), and the NASDAQ Composite closed at 11,689.01 (+2.6%). CBOE’s VIX showed that the fear factor was dwindling by diving 14.7% to 18.49 at the closing bell. In currencies, the USD Index futures slipped 0.6%, ending at 104.488 on Friday. Commodities in the S&P GSCI futures portfolio lifted the index up 3.2% to 595.85 at the week’s end.

Strength persisted across the board for all futures on our metals roster. Closing prices and percentage increases were as follows: gold at $1,854.60 (+2.1%), silver at $21.238 (+1.4%), platinum at $979.40 (+7.9%), palladium at $1,449.00 (+5.1%), copper at $4.0670 (+2.9%) and aluminum at $2,405.00 (+3.0%).

On the energy charts, the futures contracts on our watch list made strong gains for the week, except for one, the Dutch TTF gas. That market remained under pressure from oversupply, plunging 11.4% during the week, going out at €44.980 per MWh. Settlement prices and percentage increases for the other five of the energy contracts we follow were: WTI crude at $79.68 per barrel (+4.4%), Brent crude at $85.83 (+3.6%), heating oil at $2.9131 per gallon (+5.3%), RBOB gasoline at $2.7504 (+6.5%) and NYMEX natural gas soared 18.1%, going out at $3.009 per MmBtu.

Of the nine agricultural futures that we monitor, three advanced and six declined. The gainers were: sugar at 20.92¢ (+6.4%), cocoa at $2,760 (+0.4%), and live cattle at 165.425 (+0.03%). Moving into the red were: soybeans at $15.18¾ (-0.03%), corn at $6.39¾ (-1.5%), wheat at $7.08¾ (-1.8%), coffee at $1.7785 (-5.2%), cotton at 84.17¢ (-0.9%) and lean hogs at 84.550 (-1.7%).


Futures Referenced in Market Recap

ExchangeCommodityContract Month
CMELive CattleApril
CMELean HogsApril
ICEBrent CrudeMay
ICEDutch TTF GasApril
ICEUSD IndexMarch
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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