Weekly Market Recap – November 19, 2021
President Biden signed the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law. The House passed the Build Back Better Act on Friday. The national count for new COVID-19 cases has risen 25% in the last two weeks. With travelers flying in record numbers recently, and more people planning for holiday gatherings this year, the health care community is bracing for a new wave of infections this winter. As of Thursday, 58.9% of the U.S. population had been fully vaccinated. Supply chain issues continue to contribute towards inflation, as trans-Pacific cargo shippers keep raising prices to historic levels.
Monthly economic statistics, compared with previous levels, were as follows: retail sales +1.7% vs. +0.8%, business inventories +0.7% vs. +0.8%, industrial production +1.6% vs. -1.3%, capacity utilization 76.4% vs. 75.2%, housing starts 1.52 million vs. 1.53 million, and the index of leading economic indicators +0.9% vs. +0.1%. Weekly initial jobless claims inched down to 268,000 from the prior week’s 269,000.
Stocks were mixed for the week. The NASDAQ Composite closed at a new all-time high at 16,057.44 (+1.2%), but the DJIA slipped to 35,601.98 (-1.4%). The S&P 500 inched up to 4,697.96 (+0.3%). Volatility showed a bit of a boost, with the CBOE VIX popping up to 17.91 (+9.9%). The U.S. Dollar Index maintained its steady climb, gaining 1.0% to 96.06 at Friday’s close. The commodity portfolio in the S&P GSCI, weighted by energy futures, fell 2.2% to 567.13, its lowest level since October 1st.
Precious and base metals declined. Their closing prices and percentage losses were as follows: gold at $1,851.60 (-0.9%), silver at $24.781 (-2.2%), platinum at $1,036.00 (-4.9%), palladium at $2,073.20 (-2.1%), copper at $4.4075 (-0.9%) and aluminum at $2,679.50 (-0.8%).
In the energy futures, the oil sector staged a sell-off, partly due to continued discussions about tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Settlements and their respective down-moves were: WTI crude at $76.10 per barrel (-5.8%), Brent crude at $78.89 (-4.0%), ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel at $2.2934 per gallon (-4.6%), and RBOB gasoline at $2.2119 (-4.3%). Natural gas, the only non-petroleum energy product that we cover, managed a bounce up to $5.065 per mmBtu (+5.7%). This was driven by colder temperature forecasts and reported EIA storage levels that were lower than expected.
Six of the nine agricultural products we monitor moved higher and three of them decreased. The gainers were: soybeans at $12.63¼ (+1.5%), wheat at $8.23 (+0.7%), coffee at $2.3340 (+5.2%), cocoa at $2,583 (+2.3%) cotton at 119.22¢ (+1.3%), live cattle at 133.525 (+1.1%). The negative moves were in corn at $5.70¾ (-1.1%), sugar at 19.99¢ (-0.1%), and lean hogs closed at 73.750 (-2.8%).
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||December|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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