Weekly Market Recap – November 27, 2020
In the Markets
After a month of new jobless claims decreasing, the tally reversed direction with 778,000 requests for unemployment benefits. The previous week had 748,000. The total number of Americans who continue to be out of work is now 20.45 million (vs. 20.32 million.) Economic data releases and indices, compared to their prior levels, were as follows: the consumer confidence index was 96.1 vs. 101.9, durable goods were 1.3% vs. 2.1%, core capital goods were 0.7% vs. 1.9%, personal income was down 0.7%, erasing the previous +0.7% and consumer spending rose 0.5% vs. 1.2%. At the end of last week, there had been 256,000 COVID-19 deaths reported in the US, up 26,000 in 30 days. Coronavirus hospitalizations stand at 90,000 nationwide, compared with 80,000 the previous week. News about vaccine development continues to be the light at the end of the tunnel. On Monday, the General Services Administration informed President-elect Biden that it would begin the formal transition process.
US stock market investors had something to be thankful for as they enjoyed new record highs. The increase in states certifying their vote counts for the U.S. presidential election,, along with encouraging news on coronavirus vaccine production, bolstered buying. The DJIA finally breached the 30,000 mark on Tuesday. The weekly gain of 646.62 (+2.2%) sent the index to 29,910.37 at the close. The S&P 500 also entered new territory, adding 80.81 points, ending at 3,638.35 (+2.3%), and the Russell 2000 increased 3.9% with a 5.65 gain that took it to 126.53. The NASDAQ Composite also closed at an all-time high (12,205.85), having advanced 350.88 (+3.0%). The election certainty was also a factor for the “fear index” slippage. The VIX fell 2.86 (-12.1%), making its end-of-week value of 20.84 the lowest close since February 21st when it settled at 17.08 just before the stock market crashed. The US Dollar Index continued its downtrend, falling 0.610 (-0.7%) to 91.78 on Friday, a level not traded since April of 2018. Also returning to an early pandemic level was the GSCI commodity price benchmark, rising 14.20 (+3.8%). The index finished the week at 388.06, its highest Friday close since 400.53 on February 21st.
The industrial metals we track were in the plus column. Aluminum for three-month delivery on the LME has been challenging $2,000 in a few recent sessions. Friday’s p.m. ring price of $1,998.50 per ton was the highest end-of-week level since November 2018. Likewise, COMEX copper popped into a range not visited for thirty months. Spot month high-grade copper rallied 10.85¢ (+3.3%), settling at $3.395 per pound. The precious category was mixed; the most active members headed south, as gold futures shed $90.10 (-4.8%), ending at $1,788.10 per troy ounce, revisiting the $1,700s for the first time since June. Silver dived $1.852 (-7.6%) to its $22.639 settlement price, the lowest Friday close since July. Platinum and palladium are still gaining strength due to physical demand for commercial applications. The former increased $7.60 (+0.8%) to its $964.80 close, while the latter jumped to $2,439.70 with a rise of $98.80 (+4.2%) in the March contract.
NYMEX crude oil prices made a solid advance as January WTI ended Friday’s session at $45.53 by rallying $3.11 (+7.3%), and ICE Brent shot up $3.22 (+7.2%) to settle at $48.18 per barrel. Refined products soared, as well. Heating oil gained 9.36¢ to close at $1.3849 (+7.2%), while RBOB gasoline gained 9.57¢, settling at $1.2660 (+8.2%). Natural gas futures have stabilized their free-fall, however, bearish weather fundamentals are still dominating the analyst reports. January natgas managed a 7.3¢ (+2.2%) gain for the week, still reeling from its nearly 20% collapse in four weeks. Friday’s close was $2.843 per MMBtu.
In agricultural markets, price direction was mostly higher. Of the nine products we regularly include in this category, seven moved higher and two were lower. Coffee rose 6.15½ (+5.2%) with the March ICE futures ending the week at $1.2420 per pound. Cocoa gained $54 (+2.0%), settling at $2,766 per metric ton. Cotton managed a small 0.28 rise (+0.4%), as the March contract closed at 73.24¢ per pound. Sugar was the loser in the ICE softs, slipping 0.39¢ (-2.6%) to its 14.82¢/lb. close. In the Chicago markets, cattle rose 2.600 (+2.3%) to 113.250, while hog futures moved down 1.100 (-1.7%) closing at 64.250¢/lb. at the week’s end. The CBT grains and oilseeds modestly maintained their upward trends. January soybeans gained 0.9% with a 10¾¢ move to $11.91¾ per bushel. The price of March wheat is back over six dollars, but barely so, ending at $6.06 with a 6½¢ gain (+1.1%). Corn increased 5½ ¢ (+1.3%) to a $4.33¾ settlement for March delivery.
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Stefan Seibert held 1st with a 353.8% net return. Michael O’Keeffe remained in 2nd with a net return of 269.8%. Yuwen Cao remained in 3rd with a net return of 225.1%. Brent Carlile and Evgeny Kartashov rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 195.6% and 165.8% respectively.
In the Forex division, Patrick Nill held the top spot with a 244.2% net return. Sergey Shirko held 2nd with a 157.7% net return, with Raul Glavan in 3rd with a net return of 127.2%. Jan Smolen and Scott Welsh rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 98% and 91.2% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Stefan Seibert maintained first with a net return of 145%, with Patrick Nill in 2nd with a 103.4% net return. 3rd place is currently held by Cristian Franchi with a net return of 97.8%. Fernando C. Piñeiro and M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG finished the week in 4th and 5th with 88.8% and 81.9% net returns respectively.
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