Weekly Market Recap – May 21, 2021

Weekly initial jobless claims sank to the lowest level since March 21, 2020, when 2.9 million first-time filings were tallied. Thursday’s report was 444,000 claims filed. Other key statistics, compared with their prior levels, were as follows: housing starts for April were 1.57 million (vs. 1.73 million), April’s existing-home sales figure was 5.85 million (vs. 6.01 million), April building permits were unchanged at 1.76 million. The index of leading economic indicators rose 1.6% in April, following a 1.3% rise in March.

Nearly half of all Americans have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. Cases and deaths in the U.S. have dropped to the lowest level in a year; nationwide, the positivity rate is below 3% for the first time since testing became widespread. Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire.

Stock market indices were marginally mixed for the week. The NASDAQ Composite moved 0.3% higher to 13,470.99 at Friday’s close. The S&P 500 eased to 4,155.86 (-0.4%), and the DJI slipped to 34,207.84 (-0.5%). CBOE’s VIX showed a 7.1% jump to 20.15, its first close over 20 in nine weeks. In currencies, the U.S. Dollar Index ebbed slightly, decreasing 0.3% to reach 90.02 at the week’s end. In general, commodities took a breather, evidenced by the S&P GSCI, whose basket of futures closed at 506.40 (-1.7%).

The metals futures we track diverged somewhat, as gold and silver advanced, and the other four contracts retreated. Settlement prices and percentage changes from the previous Friday ended as follows: gold at $1,876.70 (+2.1%), silver at $27.486 (+0.4%), platinum at $1,169.40 (-4.4%), palladium at $2,775.00 (-4.1%), copper at $4.4810 (-3.7%), and aluminum at $2,370.00 (-3.8%).

On the energy futures charts, the uptrend is flattening in the petroleum sector. For the week, NYMEX WTI took a dive to $62.05 per barrel, down 5.1%. ICE Brent fell to $66.44 (-3.3%). Percentage-wise, U.S. refined products weakened a lesser degree than crude: heating oil faded 2.4%, closing the week at $1.9882, and RBOB gasoline shaved off 2.7% to $2.0685 per gallon. Natural gas, reacting to a bearish storage report on Thursday, moved down 1.9% for the week, ending at $2.906 per mmBtu.

Among the nine agricultural products featured here, gainers edged out losers (5 to 4). Soybeans closed at $15.25¼ (-3.8%), corn gained 2.4%, ending the week at $6.59½, while wheat settled at $6.74¼ (-4.7%). Coffee perked up; the July contract popped to 150.10 (+3.5%). Cocoa prices slipped (-0.7%), ending at $2,456 per metric ton. Sugar’s path was downward, with July futures settling at 16.67¢ per pound (-1.7%). Cotton prices held their ground (+0.5%), as the front month’s final price for the week was 82.82¢ per pound. Livestock futures prices strengthened. Cattle rose to 117.675 (+2.1%), while hogs won the blue ribbon for the Ag category, scoring +5.1% in the contract for June delivery, and closing at 114.225 on Friday.


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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