Weekly Wrap-Up 09 January 2015

January 9th, 2015
in contributors, syndication, forex

U. S. stocks lower at close of trade

by Staff, U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Financials, Consumer Services and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.95%, while the S&P 500 index fell 0.84%, and the NASDAQ Composite index declined 0.68%

Follow up:

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Cisco Systems Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO), which rose 1.02% or 0.28 points to trade at 27.79 at the close. Meanwhile, Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) added 0.49% or 0.46 points to end at 94.25 and Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) was up 0.46% or 0.15 points to 32.65 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), which fell 1.99% or 2.20 points to trade at 108.21 at the close. JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) declined 1.74% or 1.05 points to end at 59.34 and Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD) was down 1.71% or 1.83 points to 104.89.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) which rose 4.12% to 30.05, Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) which was up 3.70% to settle at 20.72 and Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) which gained 3.40% to close at 103.57.
The worst performers were Avon Products Inc (NYSE:AVP) which was down 7.47% to 8.17 in late trade, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY) which lost 6.75% to settle at 74.09 and Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA) which was down 4.46% to 42.65 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Westmoreland Coal Company (NASDAQ:WLBPZ) which rose 30.55% to 75.720, Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) which was up 28.71% to settle at 5.29 and Alexza Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ALXA) which gained 27.81% to close at 2.160.
The worst performers were The Wet Seal Inc (NASDAQ:WTSL) which was down 46.60% to 0.055 in late trade, Conatus Pha (NASDAQ:CNAT) which lost 40.08% to settle at 6.19 and E2open Inc (NASDAQ:EOPN) which was down 36.44% to 5.600 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2063 to 739 and 1 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1813 fell and 954 advanced, while 8 ended unchanged.

Shares in Avon Products Inc (NYSE:AVP) fell to all time lows; falling 7.47% or 0.66 to 8.17.
Shares in Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) rose to all time highs; rising 3.40% or 3.41 to 103.57.
Shares in Comerica Incorporated (NYSE:CMA) fell to 52 weeks lows; losing 4.46% or 1.99 to 42.65.
Shares in Agenus Inc (NASDAQ:AGEN) rose to 52 weeks highs; rising 28.71% or 1.18 to 5.29.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 3.76% to 17.65.

Read the market summary by Reuters at Wall St. retreats after two-day advance; jobs data mixed.


The dollar remained at 12-year highs against the other major currencies on Friday, after data showing that the U.S. economy added more jobs than expected last month fuelled further optimism over the strength of the country's job market.

In a report, the Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs in December, exceeding expectations for an increase of 240,000. November's figure was revised to a 353,000 gain from a previously estimated 321,000 rise.

The report also showed that the U.S. unemployment rate ticked down to 5.6% last month from 5.8% in November, compared to expectations for a decline to 5.7%.

The report came a day after data showed that U.S. initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 294,000 last week, just slightly above expectations of 290,000, and two days after data showed that the U.S. private sector added a larger-then-forecast 241,000 jobs in December.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was down 0.35% at 92.23, not far from Thursday's 12-year high of 92.76.

EUR/USD rose 0.34% to 1.1833, but still remained within striking distance of Thursday's nine-year trough of 1.1753.

The single currency remained under pressure after data on Wednesday showed that the annual rate of euro zone inflation fell by 0.2% in December, declining for the first time since October 2009.

The fall in consumer prices added to expectations that the European Central Bank could implement quantitative easing as soon as its next meeting on January 22.

Sterling eased off Thursday's 18-month lows of 1.5032, with GBP/USD gaining 0.46% to 1.5159.

The U.K. Office for National Statistics earlier reported that manufacturing production rose 0.7% in November, beating expectations for a 0.3% gain, after a 0.7% fall the previous month.

On the other hand, U.K. industrial production ticked down 0.1% in November, data showed on Friday, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.2%. October's figure was revised to a 0.3% slip from a previously estimated 0.1% fall.

A separate report showed that the U.K. trade deficit narrowed to £8.85 billion in November from £9.84 billon in October, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of £9.62 billion. Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to £9.40 billion in November.

Elsewhere, the dollar slid lower against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.68% to 118.84, while USD/CHF slid 0.33% to 1.0150.

The commodity-exposed Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars were mixed, still hovering near multi-year lows. AUD/USD climbed 0.82% to 0.8189, NZD/USD held steady at 0.7824 and USD/CAD edged up 0.18% to 1.1851.

In Canada, official data showed that the number of employed people declined by 4,300 last month, condounding expectations for a 15,000 rise, after a 10,700 drop in November.

Canada's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.6% in December, in line with expectations.

A separate report showed that Canada's building permits dropped by 13.8% in November, compared to expectations for a 1.0% rise, after a revised 2.1% increase in October.

CTFC Commitment of Traders

For the week ending January 6: Speculators were more bearish on Euro. The largest sentiment shift for the week was increased bullishness for the S&P 500.



Gold prices edged higher on Friday, but gains were expected to remain limited as data on U.S. initial jobless claims released on Thursday pointed to an ongoing recovery in the labor market.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery were up 0.27% to $1,211.80.

The February contract ended Thursday's session 0.18% lower at $1,208.50 an ounce.

The Department of Labor reported on Thursday that initial jobless claims fell by 4,000 to 294,000 last week, just slightly above expectations of 290,000.

The report came a day after data showed that the U.S. private sector added a larger-then-forecast 241,000 jobs in December.

The upbeat data boosted the outlook for the U.S. recovery and raised expectations for a strong reading of the government nonfarm payrolls due later Friday.

Gold lost nearly 2% in 2014 amid indications a strengthening U.S. economic recovery will force the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates sooner and faster than previously thought.

Higher U.S. interest rates would boost the greenback and weigh on gold, which has benefited from central bank liquidity and a low interest rate environment since the 2008 financial crisis.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was steady at a 12-year high of 92.58 in early European trading.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver for March delivery was steady at $16.377 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery slipped 0.24% to $2.763 a pound.


Global oil prices resumed their slide on Friday after two days of relative calm, with Brent and U.S. crude hitting their lowest level since April 2009, before paring losses on data showing a steep drop in U.S. oil drilling rigs.

Benchmark Brent crude broke below $49 a barrel but returned to above the $50 support level it had seen earlier in the week after oil services firm Baker Hughes reported the largest drop in 24 years in U.S. drilling rigs.

Oil prices had barely moved in the past two sessions after tumbling 10 percent the first two days of the week.

Early in New York trade, crude oil drifted about 50 cents lower as robust U.S. jobs data for December helped limit losses.

The sell-off gained force about an hour before noon, with both Brent and U.S. crude falling to April 2009 lows. But it recovered somewhat after the rig count data.

Bearish opinions were prevalent. For one, Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors in Laurel Hollow in New York said:

"In my opinion we have not stabilized out yet, but the rig data and some short-covering ahead of the weekend is helping the market pare losses."

By 2:05 p.m. EST (1845 GMT), Brent was down 1.05 cents at $49.91 a barrel, after a session low at $48.90.

U.S. crude traded 58 cents lower at $48.21, after falling to $47.16 earlier.

The number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States fell by 61 this week, the most in a week since 1991, the Baker Hughes report showed. The number of oil rigs has declined in 10 of the last 13 weeks since hitting a record high of 1,609 in mid-October. The current rig count of 1,421 in the week to Jan. 9 is the lowest level since February.

Oil analysis firm Wood Mackenzie said in a report on Friday that even at $40 levels, only less than 2 percent of global crude production was expected to be at risk. Wood Mackenzie analyst Robert Plummer said:

"Operators may prefer to continue producing oil at a loss rather than stop production - especially for large projects such as oil sands and mature fields in the North Sea."

Natural Gas

Natural gas futures rallied on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies fell more than forecast last week and rallied still further on Friday after upbeat U.S. economic data was released.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in February rose 2.8 cents, or 0.98%, to trade at $2.899 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours on Thursday. Prices were at $2.881 prior to the release of the supply data. On Friday prices surged even higher to close at 2.965. The two-day gain was 9.4 cents, or 3.5%.

On Wednesday, natural gas plunged 6.7 cents, or 2.28%, to settle at $2.871.

Futures are likely to find support at $2.805 per million British thermal units, the low from January 2, and resistance at $3.176, the high from January 5.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended January 2 fell by 131 billion cubic feet, more than expectations for a decline of 121 billion and compared to a drop of 26 billion in the previous week.

Inventories fell by 191 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change is a drop of 131 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.089 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 250 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 67 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.156 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

Meanwhile, market players continued to assess the outlook for U.S. demand levels.

Updated weather forecast models continued to call for frigid temperatures in the key Northeast and Midwest markets in the next three-to-five days, boosting near-term demand expectations for the heating fuel.

However, extended forecasts showed higher readings were expected for most of the nation from January 16 through January 20.

Bearish speculators are betting on the mild weather to dampen demand for the heating fuel. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.

Approximately 49% of U.S. households use gas for heating, according to the EIA, the statistical arm of the Energy Department.


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