Weekly Market Recap – November 20, 2020
In the Markets
The retail sales report for October increased by 0.3%, down from September’s 1.6%.
Industrial production rose 1.1% compared to the prior month (-0.4%). Nationwide unemployment figures indicate that the jobless total eased to 20.32 million from the previous week’s 21.16 million. 742,000 of those were new claims, compared with 711,000 the week before. The monthly report of the index of leading economic indicators was unchanged at 0.7%. Cumulative COVID-19 fatalities are nearing 254,000 in the US, the highest death toll among all countries, with 80,000 Americans now hospitalized with the virus, an all-time high.
The equities benchmarks we cover in this recap were mixed. The DJIA was off slightly, decreasing 27.61 (-0.8%), going out at 29,263.75. Likewise, there was a 216.55 loss for the S&P 500 (-0.7%), ending at 3,557.54 for the week. An upward marginal change (+0.2%) for the NASDAQ Composite, with a 25.68 point increase, took the index to 11,854.97, but the most noteworthy performance was in the Russell 2000. Comprised of small cap companies, this marker made an all time high of 145.11 on Wednesday, and had its highest end-of-week close, 143.24 (+3.10 points, +2.2%). Volatility crept 2.6% higher, evidenced by the VIX, which gained 0.60 to close at the 23.70 level. In the currency market, the US Dollar Index ebbed 0.33, with its 0.4% retreat to 92.39 on Friday. In the commodity sector, the component products embodied in the GSCI moved higher. The basket advanced 9.37 (+2.6%) to 373.86 at week’s end.
Platinum was the percentage leader-of-the-week in the metals we spotlight here. As we reported a few weeks back, there is a platinum supply deficit that many analysts attribute to the promises of “green hydrogen” technology. January futures gained $61.20 (+6.6%) ending at $957.20 per ounce. Platinum’s expensive sister, palladium, although a catalytic candidate viable for green hydrogen, is not cost-effective. Palladium lost $6.40 (-0.3%) slipping to $2,323.30 on Friday. The other precious metals followed suit: December gold futures dipped $13.80 (-0.7%) to $1,872.40, silver gave back 41.2¢ to $24.363 (-1.7%). Base metals kept to their uptrends, both copper and aluminum scoring new highs for the year. The former added 11.3¢ (+3.6%) to close at $3.2910 per pound, and the latter rallied $61 (+3.2%), going out at $1,993 per metric ton.
Oil was dominated by OPEC’s technical meeting that concluded on Monday with supporting news about extending its current level of production cuts. This shaped the price movement for petroleum and its products. NYMEX crude oil prices booked a solid advance as December WTI ended Friday’s session at $42.15 by firming $2.02 (+5.0), and ICE Brent for January increased $2.18 (+5.1%) to settle at $44.96 per barrel. Refined products traded higher, as well. Heating oil gained 8.21¢ to close at $1.2863 (+6.8%), while RBOB gasoline rose 4.98¢, settling at $1.1752 (+4.4%). With the end of hurricane season in sight, natural gas is rapidly losing ground. The warmer-than-normal temperature outlook for the eastern half of the US has made a free fall pattern on the price charts. Since making contract highs only three weeks ago ($3.396 on October 30th), December natural gas futures have plummeted 22%. In the past week, natgas lost 34.5¢ (-11.5%), ending at $2.650 per MMBtu, its lowest Friday close since late March.
The lion’s share of the food product prices we track were higher for the week. Only livestock moved lower as December cattle dropped 1.825 (-1.7%) to a 108.100 close, while December hogs slid 0.775 (-1.2%), ending at 64.125¢ per pound. In the Ag futures sector, the greatest percentage gain of the week was in cocoa, with a 14.7% rally. Reportedly, Hershey purchased ICE inventories of cocoa in order to circumvent a $400 per ton premium that Ivory Coast and Ghana had added to benefit cocoa bean farmers. Futures increased $347 per ton, closing at $2,712 on Friday, a nine-month high. ICE’s coffee contract gained 5.85¢ (+5.2%) to $1.805/lb., sugar rose 0.25 (+1.7%) to its 15.21¢/lb. close, and cotton futures improved by 3.6%, as the December contract closed at 72.96¢ per pound. Grains and oilseeds in the Chicago market moved as follows: CBT soybeans climbed 33¢ higher (+2.9%) to an $11.81 settlement price. December corn also rallied, gaining 3.1% with its 12¾¢ move to $4.23¼ per bushel. December wheat’s settlement of $5.93¼ was statistically unchanged (0.0%), at only ¼¢ below the previous end-of-week close.
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Stefan Seibert held 1st with a 331.5% net return. Michael O’Keeffe remained in 2nd with a net return of 277.7%. Yuwen Cao remained in 3rd with a net return of 225.1%. Evgeny Kartashov and Brent Carlile rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 165.8% and 156.5% respectively.
In the Forex division, Patrick Nill held the top spot with a 248.3% net return. Sergey Shirko moved up to 2nd with a 157.7% net return, with Raul Glavan in 3rd with a net return of 146.5%. Jan Smolen and Scott Welsh rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 126.5% and 89.1% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Stefan Seibert maintained first with a net return of 136.3%, with Patrick Nill in 2nd with a 103.2% net return. 3rd place is currently held by Cristian Franchi with a net return of 93.1%. Fernando C. Piñeiro and Adrian Koemel finished the week in 4th and 5th with 80.9% and 72.4% net returns respectively.
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.