Weekly Market Recap – October 2, 2020
In the Markets
On Friday, President Trump was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after testing positive for COVID-19. Several other people who had attended his Rose Garden gathering the previous Saturday tested positive, as well. On Wednesday, the global total of COVID-19 deaths reportedly surpassed 1 million. 837,000 new jobless benefit claims were submitted the prior week. Personal income for August was reported to be down 2.7%. The September unemployment rate is 7.9%, down from 8.2% reported the previous month. The US economy is facing a new round of corporate layoffs, numbering many thousands, primarily in the travel, entertainment, and hospitality sectors.
This week, our recap includes a few noteworthy quarterly changes, due to the fact that the third quarter ended on Wednesday. For the weekly changes, the DJIA rose 508.85 (+1.9%), closing at 27,682.81 on Friday. The S&P 500 added 49.98 points, ending at 3,348.44 (+1.5%). The NASDAQ Composite closed the week 161.46 higher (+1.5%) at 11,075.02, and the Russell 2000 gained 4.5% with a 5.27 increase for the week, taking it to 123.53 at the close.
The Q3 statistics for these four equities benchmarks were as follows: DJIA +7.6% (Q1 had a drop of 23.2%, Q2 +17.8% and year-to-date is now negative 3.0%). The S&P 500 rose 8.5% in Q3 (Q1 was down 20% and +20.0% in Q2. YTD gain +3.6%). For Q3, the NASDAQ Composite rallied 11.0% (Q1 had slid 14.2% and surged 30.6% in Q2, making its YTD performance +23.4%). The Russell 2000 rose 4.8% in Q3 (its Q1 move had been a crash of 30.8% followed by a 25.1% recovery in Q2, and for 2020 thus far, it is down 7.2%). Volatility came back into stocks last week as CBOE’s VIX rose 1.25 (+4.7%) ending on Friday at 27.63, and the US Dollar Index eased 0.77 (-0.8%) with a 93.80 settlement.
Commodity prices, as reflected in the GSCI, were choppy on a sector-by-sector basis. The index, more heavily weighted towards metals and energy than agricultural products, advanced 7.6%% in Q3, as it rose from 325.48 to 350.17 during the period. In Q1 it plummeted from 436.21 to 255.54 (-41.4%), and its Q2 movement was 255.54 to 325.48 (+27.4%).
As a commodity grouping, the quarterly returns in metals were as positive as those for the stock indices. Q3 percentage gains were as follows: gold firmed 4.0%, silver soared 24.9%, platinum rose 6.2%, palladium increased 18.8%, copper gained 10.6% and aluminum added 10.2% to its end of Q2 price. Energy products were mostly higher in Q3, with the exception of heating oil, due to seasonal factors. WTI futures improved 1.6%, Brent crude followed suit with a 1.3% quarterly rise, heating oil retreated 6.5%, RBOB gasoline rallied 8.7% and natural gas topped the energy futures performance for Q3 with a 10.7% increase.
In the past three months, the agricultural commodities were subject to forces that largely depended on the weather and the double whammy that the pandemic caused on both sides of the supply/demand equation. We will dispense with the quarter-to-quarter changes and stick with the activity of the week. Ag sector was mixed and the percentage movements were all single digit. Wheat settled at $5.73¼ per bushel, up 29¢ (+5.3%). Corn, with its $3.79¾ close, added 14½¢ (+4.0%) for the week. Soybeans went out at $10.20¾ after rising 18¼¢ (+1.8%). ICE US softs mostly weakened, with coffee down 4.70 to 108.95 (-4.1%) from the previous Friday. March sugar inched up 0.04 to 13.55¢ (+0.3%). Cocoa lost $86 (-3.3%) for the week, closing at $2,482 per ton. December cotton eased 0.13¢ (-0.2%) to its 65.82 settlement price. Livestock retreated, as cattle futures pared off a mere 0.300 (-0.3%) to a 111.100 close, while hogs ended at 62.500 for December, losing 1.925 (-3.0%).
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Michael O’Keeffe has held the top position, based on the end of week standings, for the 25th week in a row with a 419.2% net return. Stefan Seibert held 2nd with a net return of 316.1%. Yuwen Cao remained in 3rd with a net return of 240.3%. Evgeny Kartashov and Brent Carlile rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 165.8% and 126.3% respectively.
In the Forex division, Patrick Nill held the top spot with a 225.3% net return. Raul Glavan remained in 2nd at 138.3% net return, with Jan Smolen in 3rd with a net return of 117.7%. Sergey Shirko and Nicholas Ridley rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 103.6% and 87% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Stefan Seibert moved up to first with a net return of 132.6%, with M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG moving down to 2nd at 97.2% net return. 3rd place is currently held by Adrian Koemel with a net return of 64.4%. Wayne Wan and Fernando C. Piñeiro finished the week in 4th and 5th at 61.7% and 50.7% net returns respectively.
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