Weekly Market Recap – September 25, 2020
In the Markets
Unemployment remains a focal point of the nation’s economic health. The labor department reported that new applications for jobless benefits rose to 870,000 compared to 866,000 the previous week. For August, the unemployment rate was 8.4%, down from nearly 15% in April. Government reports on existing home sales in August came in at 6.00 million (vs. 6.03 million in July), while new home sales were 1.01 million (July’s figure was 900,000). Durable goods orders rose 0.4% (-1.9% in July). Also noteworthy, three-month dollar LIBOR, a key benchmark for lending between banks, fixed at 0.2225%, an all-time record low, surpassing the previous all-time low set in May 2014.
The DJIA decreased 483.48 (-1.7%), closing at 27,173.96 on Friday. The S&P 500 dipped 21.01 points, ending at 3,298.46 (-0.6%), and the Russell 2000 marked a 3.9% drop, down 4.86 for the week to 118.26 at the close. Of the indices we include in this recap, the NASDAQ Composite is having the best year-to-date performance (+21.6%), generally attributed to its tech components. This past week, the index advanced 120.28 points (+1.1%) ending at 10,913.56 on Friday. The CBOE Volatility index closed 26.38, up 2.1%. In global currency markets, the US dollar continues to strengthen as the spot Dollar Index gained 1.7%, hitting its highest weekly close (94.57) since late July. Regarding the commodity segment of the financial markets, the S&P GSCI lost some ground (-2.7%), fading 9.81 to its 348.22 final print of the week.
The metals sector moved south, as gold futures shed $95.80 (-4.9%), ending at $1,866.30 per troy ounce. Silver dove $4.036 (-14.9%) to its $23.093 settlement price, the lowest Friday close in two months. Platinum and palladium suffered selloffs similar to gold and silver. The former fell $96.50 (-10.3%) to its $842.00 close, while the latter dropped to $2,222.20 (-6.7%) with a loss of $158.60 in the December contract. The base metals that we cover in our recap all weakened, as well. Copper gave back 14.5¢ (-4.7%) to close at $2.9710 per pound. LME aluminum for 3-month delivery declined $44.00 dollars per ton, ending at $1,748.50 (-2.5%).
Petroleum supplies are slowly building. For instance, Libya’s oil industry started up again, as COVID-19 had kept it offline for months. Crude oil prices slipped more than a dollar during the week. November WTI closed at $40.25, which was off $1.07 (-2.6%). ICE Brent eased 2.9%, losing $1.23 to settle at $41.92 per barrel. Refined products followed suit, with heating oil losing 3.28¢ to close at $1.1262 (-2.8%), while RBOB gasoline retreated 2.24¢ per gallon, settling at $1.2142 (-1.8%). Natural gas fundamentals keep traders awash in EIA storage surprises, LNG stats, tropical storm stories and cold snap scenarios. All of that resulted in a notable bounce in the October futures, with the weekly movement up 9.1¢ (+4.4%), ending at $2.139 per MMBtu.
The agricultural commodity markets reported in this recap were mixed. Soybeans corrected 41¢ (-3.9%) to close at $10.02½ per bushel. The December corn contract sold off 13¼¢ (-3.5%) to a $3.65¼ settlement price. Wheat tumbled 30¾¢ (-5.3%) ending at $5.44¼ for the week. Over on the ICE US, coffee stopped plunging, and ticked up 0.15 on the week (+0.1%), settling at $1.1365 per pound. Sugar advanced a bit, challenging that 13 hurdle again, closing exactly at 13.00¢, as October added 0.23 points (+1.8%). Cocoa had a $73 setback, settling at $2,568 (-2.8%). Cotton inched ahead 0.29 (+0.4%) to 65.95 in the December contract. Milk was off 71 ticks (-3.6%), closing at 18.88 for the week. Livestock firmed: cattle a fraction, but hogs took the Ag star-of-the week ribbon. October hogs soared 5.250 (+7.9%) to a 71.750 settlement, its highest weekly close in eight months (74.175 on 1/24/2020). Cattle ended at 107.575, with a slight 0.225 gain (+0.2%) for October delivery.
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Michael O’Keeffe has held the top position, based on the end of week standings, for the 24th week in a row with a 426.6% net return. Stefan Seibert reclaimed 2nd with a net return of 296.5%. Yuwen Cao dropped down to 3rd with a net return of 252.9%. Evgeny Kartashov and Paige Williams rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 165.8% and 121.5% respectively.
In the Forex division, Patrick Nill claimed the top spot with a 237.2% return. Raul Glavan moved up to 2nd at 146.4%, with Sergey Shirko at 3rd with a net return of 113.2%. Jan Smolen and Scott Welsh rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 108.7% and 80.7% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Vontobel of Tirutrade AG held on to first with a net return of 122.8%, with Stefan Seibert moving up to 2nd at 107.7%. 3rd place is currently held by Adrian Koemel with a net return of 81.5%. Wayne Wan and Tobias Baerlin finished the week in 4th and 5th at 76% and 52.4% respectively.
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