Weekly Market Recap – October 9, 2020
In the Markets
Initial jobless claims for the week ending October 3rd were 840,000 vs. median expectations of 820,000. For the past month, this statistic has been moving within the range between 800,000 and 900,000. The trade balance figure for August was a deficit of $67.1 billion, lower than the $63.4 billion deficit for July. Stock market investors had their best week since mid-summer. The indices we track here traded with steady strength every day, except for late Tuesday, when President Trump messaged that he would not approve any economic stimulus until after the presidential election. Equities took an abrupt dive, as the Dow plunged 500 points in 30 minutes. Markets recovered for the rest of the week as the economic necessity of additional stimulus became apparent. By the week’s end, the benchmark DJIA closed at 28,586.90 (+904.09) racking up a 3.3% rally from the previous Friday; it was the Dow’s highest close in six weeks. The S&P 500 jumped 3.3% for the weekly gain, ending at 3,477.13 (+128.69). Adding 504.92 points, the NASDAQ Composite had a +4.6% up move to 11,579.94 at Friday’s close. The Russell 2000 booked a 6.4% increase of 7.86 points to its 131.39 final print. The CBOE Volatility Index ebbed, ending the week at 25.00. The VIX indicated, with its 2.63 decrease (-9.5%), that trading had become more orderly. In currencies, the US Dollar index fell to 93.06, losing 0.74 (-0.8%).
In commodities, the general uptrend outpaced the stock market, as per S&P’s GSCI, which settled at 360.57 (+6.8%), surging 23.10 from the prior week, its highest Friday close since February 21st (400.53). Currently, the composition of this index is 62% energy futures and 15% metals futures. Both groups rallied across the board. COMEX copper added 10½¢ (+3.5%), closing at $3.0825/lb. LME three-month aluminum gained $73.50 (+4.2%), ending the week at $1,841.50 per metric ton, the highest it has been since March 2019 ($1,951.00). In the precious sector, prices continue to advance. Front-month futures for gold, silver, platinum and palladium all moved to the plus side: gold rose by $18.60 (+1.0%) to $1,926.20, silver increased by $1.079, to $25.108 (+4.5%), platinum gained $2.90 (+0.3%) to $894.30 and palladium jumped $138.20 (+5.9%) to $2,463.20 per troy ounce, its highest Friday settlement since February 21st.
The energy complex percentage increases were even greater than those in the metals. NYMEX crude and product futures have been supported by dollar weakness and repercussions from Hurricane Delta. November WTI ended the week at $40.60 per barrel, a $3.55 increase (+9.6%). Brent added $3.58 (+9.1%), taking it to $42.85 at settlement. RBOB gasoline had a 7.1% increase for the week (+7.97¢ per gallon), printing $1.2032 at the close. Heating oil settled at $1.1933 and added 10.83¢/gallon to its price for the week, soaring 10.00% from the previous Friday. Natural gas hedgers and speculators are also focused on storm-related issues. More than 300,000 people are without power in Louisiana. Tens of thousands of property owners who suffered from Hurricane Laura’s destructiveness six weeks ago were dealt another blow from Delta. November natgas showed a weekly rise of 12.4%, up 30.3¢, closing at $2.741 per MMBtu, 25.5% higher than the contract lows in June.
Rounding out the stronger commodity prices, the agricultural markets were mostly higher, as well. Of the nine Ag products that we regularly include in our recap, only cocoa decreased: December cocoa slipped $50 (-2.0%) to $2,432/ton, as inventory reports from Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, indicated that the pandemic is still a major factor impacting consumer chocolate demand. In the other ICE softs, coffee increased 2.60 (+ 2.4%), settling at $1.1165 per pound. Sugar popped 5.0%, rallying 0.68¢ to close at 14.23¢/pound. Cotton firmed 1.82 (+2.8%) to 67.64 in the December contract. Livestock markets gained as December cattle rose 1.500 (+1.4%) to a 112.600 close, while hogs ended the week with a bang at 67.125, climbing 4.625 (+7.4%). Among the most active markets in this sector, grains and oilseeds all surged to new pandemic-era highs. December wheat shot 20½¢ higher (+3.6%) to a $5.93¾ settlement price. Corn also rallied, gaining 4.0% with its 15¼¢ move to $3.95 per bushel. November soybeans advanced 44¾¢ (+4.4%) to $10.65½ at Friday’s close.
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Michael O’Keeffe has held the top position, based on the end of week standings, for the 26th week in a row with a 369% net return. Stefan Seibert held 2nd with a net return of 352.3%, significantly closing the gap. Yuwen Cao remained in 3rd with a net return of 247.4%. Paige Williams and Evgeny Kartashov rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 224.4% and 165.8% respectively.
In the Forex division, Patrick Nill held the top spot with a 243.5% net return. Raul Glavan remained in 2nd at 133.1% net return, with Jan Smolen in 3rd with a net return of 132.9%. Nicholas Ridley and Sergey Shirko rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 130.1% and 93.8% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Stefan Seibert maintained first with a net return of 154.8%, with M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG in 2nd with a 121.8% net return. 3rd place is currently held by Adrian Koemel with a net return of 65.4%. Tobias Baerlin and Fernando C. Piñeiro finished the week in 4th and 5th with 63% and 53.2% net returns respectively.
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