Weekly Market Recap – March 31, 2023
On Thursday, Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president indicted on criminal charges. Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested in Russia on accusations of espionage. In response to the strikes and mass protests in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu delayed action on his proposed reforms until Parliament returns at the end of April. North Carolina became the 40th state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Tornados devastating homes and property in Mississippi and Alabama left at least 26 dead.
Monthly economic statistics compared with previous levels were: S&P Case-Shiller home price index +2.5% vs. +4.6%, FHFA home price index +5.3% vs. +6.6%, pending home sales +0.8% vs. +8.1%, personal income +0.3% vs. +0.6%, personal spending +0.2% vs. +1.8%, consumer confidence index 104.2 vs. 103.4, PCE index +0.3% vs. +0.6%, PCE (year over year) +5.0% vs. +5.3%. Weekly employment numbers showed initial jobless claims at 198,000 vs. 191,000 and continuing unemployment claims were unchanged at 1.69 million.
Throughout the week, stock indices rose: the DJIA ended at 33,274.15 (+3.2%), the S&P 500 finished at 4,109.31 (+3.5%), and the NASDAQ Composite closed at 12,221.91 (+3.4%). CBOE’s VIX collapsed 14.0%, marking 18.70 at settlement. In currencies, the USD Index lost 0.6%, with the futures ending at 102.186 on Friday. Commodities in the S&P GSCI futures portfolio showed steady gains of 4.5%, pushing the index to 574.02 at the week’s end.
Most of the metal futures we track in this recap moved higher, but gold was the outlier, easing just a bit after four straight weeks of strongly leading the pack. The final prices and corresponding percentage movements were: gold at $1,986.20 (-0.8%), silver at $24.156 (+3.5%), platinum at $1,003.10 (+1.3%), palladium at $1,468.00 (+3.8%), copper at $4.0945 (+0.5%), and aluminum at $2,413.00 per metric ton (+3.3%).
On the energy charts, mixed performances were seen among the contracts we follow in this sector. For the week, the final numbers looked like this: NYMEX WTI at $75.67 per barrel (+9.3%), Brent crude oil at $79.77 (+6.4%), heating oil at $2.6763 per gallon (-0.7%), RBOB gasoline at $2.7005 (+4.3%), NYMEX natural gas at $2.216 per MMBtu (-6.1%), and ICE Dutch TTF gas at €47.843 per MWh (+15.3%).
As for the agricultural commodities on our radar, the bulls dominated the bears. Friday settlement results for the contracts we monitor in this category were: soybeans at $15.05½ (+5.4%), corn at $6.60½ (+2.7%), wheat at $6.92¼ (+0.5%), coffee at $1.7050 (-4.9%), sugar at 22.25¢ (+6.9%), cocoa at $2,933 (+1.7%), cotton at 82.78¢ (+8.2%), live cattle at 168.350 (+3.3%) and lean hogs at 75.250 (-2.5%).
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|ICE||Dutch TTF Gas||May|
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||April|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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