Weekly Wrap-Up 07 March 2014

March 7th, 2014
in contributors, syndication

U.S. stocks mixed on jobs report, Ukraine unease; Dow rises 0.19%

by Staff,

Concerns that the Ukraine crisis my heat up anew offset a better-than-expected February jobs report and sent stocks trading mixed to higher on Friday.

At the close of U.S. trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.19%, the S&P 500 index rose 0.05%, while the Nasdaq Composite index fell 0.37%.

Follow up:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier that the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, beating expectations for a 149,000 increase.

January's figure was revised up to 129,000 from 113,000.


The U.S. private sector added 162,000 jobs last month, exceeding expectations for a 154,000 rise. January's figure was revised up to 145,000 from 142,000.

The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7% in February, from 6.6% the previous month. Analysts had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged last month.

Meanwhile, data also showed that the U.S. trade deficit expanded to $39.1 billion in January, from $38.98 billion in December, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of $38.7 billion.

Analysts had expected the trade deficit to expand to $39.00 billion in January.

The bullish data sent stocks rising by fueling hopes that an improving economy will bolster corporate fundamentals down the road.

Offsetting gains, however, were concerns the Russian standoff in Ukraine may be heating up anew.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that he wouldn't ignore pleas for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine, which markets interpreted as rebuff to U.S. President Barack Obama's call to end the crisis.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included Nike, up 1.57%, Exxon Mobil, up 1.30%, and Goldman Sachs, up 0.93%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included Walt Disney, down 1.36%, Microsoft, down 0.72%, and Verizon down 0.68%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished lower.

After the close of European trade, the EURO STOXX 50 fell 1.50%, France's CAC 40 fell 1.15%, while Germany's DAX 30 fell 2.01%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 fell 1.12%.


The dollar moved higher against most major currencies on Friday after data revealed the U.S. economy created more payrolls than expected in February.

In U.S. trading on Friday,EUR/USD was up 0.05% at 1.3867.

Stronger U.S. employemnt data sent the dollar gaining, as the Federal Reserve has said it will pay close attention to data when deciding on how quickly it will dismantle its monthly bond-buying program.

Fed bond purchases, currently set at $65 billion a month, weaken the dollar by suppressing interest rates that aim to spur recovery by encouraging investing and hiring.

Still, dollar didn't soar, as many investors have already priced in expectations for the Fed to continue winding down stimulus measures as the year unfolds.

Meanwhile in the euro zone, official data earlier showed that German industrial production rose 0.8% in January, more than the expected 0.7% increase. Industrial production in December was revised up to a 0.1% gain from a previously estimated 0.6% fall.

Elsewhere, the dollar was up against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.24% at 103.32, and down against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF down 0.29% at 0.8778.

The greenback was up against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.10% at 1.6722.

The dollar was up against its cousins in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with USD/CAD up 1.04% at 1.1096, AUD/USD down 0.25% at 0.9067 and NZD/USD down 0.19% at 0.8460.

The dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket of six other major currencies, was up 0.09% at 79.74.


Gold prices fell on Friday after data revealed the U.S. economy picked up more jobs than expected in February, which investors expect will prompt the Federal Reserve to continue dismantling monetary stimulus tools that have bolstered gold prices since 2012.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery traded at $1,338.80 a troy ounce during U.S. trading, down 0.96%, up from a session low of $1,329.00 and off a high of $1,353.10.

The April contract settled up 0.86% at $1,351.80 on Thursday.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,320.10 a troy ounce, the low from Feb. 28, and resistance at $1,355.00, Monday's high.

Even though the data favored market moves, the dollar didn't soar and gold didn't plummet as the market has already priced in expectations for the Fed to continue winding down stimulus measures as the year unfolds.

Meanwhile, silver for May delivery was down 3.20% at US$20.883 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery were down 4.27% at US$3.081 a pound.


Crude prices shot up on Friday after data revealed the U.S. added more payrolls than expected in February, a sign the economy may be gaining steam and will demand more fuel and energy going forward.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in April traded at $102.62 a barrel during U.S. trading, up 1.04%. New York-traded oil futures hit a session low of $101.58 a barrel and a high of $102.89 a barrel.

The April contract settled up 0.11% at $101.56 a barrel on Thursday.

Nymex oil futures were likely to find support at $100.17 a barrel, Thursday's low, and resistance at $105.22 a barrel, Monday's high.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil futures for April delivery were up 0.65% and trading at US$108.81 a barrel, while the spread between the Brent and U.S. crude contracts stood at US$6.19 a barrel.

Natural Gas

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in April traded at $4.585 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, down 1.66%. The commodity hit session high of $4.681 and a low of $4.567.

The April contract settled up 3.07% on Thursday to end at $4.662 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.463 per million British thermal units, Monday's low, and resistance at $4.721, Wednesday's high.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended Feb. 28 fell by 152 billion cubic feet, far outpacing expectations for a decline of 138 billion cubic feet.

Supplies fell by 149 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average is a decline of 105 billion.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.1968 trillion cubic feet, the lowest for this time of year since 2004.

Stocks were 908 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 758 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.954 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 370 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 82 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 273 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 754 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 43 billion cubic feet.

The data sent prices rising to levels ripe for profit taking on Friday.

Concerns that the coldest part of winter has passed, while warmer spring temperatures lie just around the corner also fueled the selloff.

Spring and fall see the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.


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