Weekly Market Recap – November 26, 2021
On Friday, Omicron, the new COVID-19 variant took the oxygen out of newsrooms. Detected first in South Africa, this mutation is being described as potentially more contagious than the Delta variant. It is unknown whether the currently available vaccines will provide protection from it.
The economic statistics for the week held few surprises. Compared with their previous reports, they were as follows: existing home sales 6.34 million vs. 6.29 million, new home sales 745,000 vs. 742,000, durable goods orders -0.5% vs. -0.4%, balance of trade (deficit) -$82.9 billion vs. -$97.0 billion, real disposable income -0.3% vs. -1.6%, real consumer spending 0.7% vs. 0.3%, core inflation 0.4% vs. 0.2% (year-over-year inflation 4.1% vs. 3.7%), consumer sentiment index 67.4 vs. 66.8. Weekly initial jobless claims were 199,000 vs. the prior 270,000. As for quarterly reporting, real gross domestic income for Q3 was 6.7% vs. Q2’s 4.3%.
Given the magnitude of the coronavirus coverage, stock markets across the board registered big losses for the week. The DJIA plunged 702.64 (-2.0%), printing 34,899.34 as its Friday close. The S&P 500 ended at 4,594.62 (-2.2%), the NASDAQ Composite closed at 15,491.66 (-3.5%). Volatility in equities spiked considerably as CBOE’s VIX shot up to 28.62 (+59.8%), the highest weekly close in 20 months (65.54 in the week ending March 27, 2020). However, in the currency markets, the USD held like a rock, evidenced by the spot USD Index, which finished the week at 96.07 (up 0.01 from last week). The commodity futures portfolio, represented in the S&P GSCI, tumbled 4.8% to 539.92, its lowest Friday settlement in ten weeks (538.85 on September 17).
Prices retreated for the six metals futures we track in our recap. Settlements and weekly percentage changes were: gold at $1,785.50 (-3.6%), silver at $23.107 (-6.8%), platinum at $954.30 (-7.9%), palladium at $1,789.10 (-13.7%), copper at $4.2835 (-2.8%) and aluminum at $2,615.00 (-2.4%).
In the energy markets, the petroleum segment tanked to levels not seen since early September: WTI crude at $68.15 (-10.3%), Brent crude at $72.72 (-7.8%), heating oil $2.0907 (-8.6%), and RBOB gasoline at $1.9811 (-8.2%). This is gasoline’s first wholesale price below $2 per gallon since mid-August. Because COVID-19 news has no impact on cold weather forecasts, natural gas had the only up move among the energy futures on our radar. Nat Gas futures went out at $5.477 per mmBtu (+6.5%).
The nine agricultural futures we monitor were mixed in terms of directional movement; five decreased and four increased. The contracts that lost value were: soybeans at $12.52¾ (-0.8%), sugar at 19.35¢ (-3.2%), cocoa at $2,396 (-7.2%), cotton at 111.78¢ (-4.0%), and lean hogs at 73.200 (-0.7%). The gainers were: corn at $5.86¾ (+2.8%), wheat at $8.25½ (+0.3%), coffee at $2.4295 (+4.1%), and live cattle at 138.100 (+3.4%).
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||January|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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