Weekly Wrap-Up 16 January 2015

January 16th, 2015
in contributors, syndication, forex

U.S. stocks higher at close of trade

by Staff, U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Oil & GasHealth Care and Basic Materials sectors led shares higher.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.10%, while the S&P 500 index gained 1.34%, and the NASDAQ Composite index gained 1.39%.

Follow up:

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), which rose 3.08% or 3.11 points to trade at 104.12 at the close. Meanwhile, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) added 2.43% or 2.16 points to end at 91.12 and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) was up 2.39% or 2.45 points to 105.12 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), which fell 0.71% or 1.26 points to trade at 177.23 at the close. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) declined 0.70% or 0.61 points to end at 86.77 and Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) was down 0.55% or 0.46 points to 83.86.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Newfield Exploration Company (NYSE:NFX) which rose 10.13% to 25.88, Cimarex Energy Co (NYSE:XEC) which was up 7.68% to settle at 98.95 and Mylan Inc (NASDAQ:MYL) which gained 6.31% to close at 56.07.

The worst performers were Precision Castparts Corporation (NYSE:PCP) which was down 9.14% to 199.63 in late trade, Avon Products Inc (NYSE:AVP) which lost 1.84% to settle at 7.47 and Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) which was down 1.09% to 28.98 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA (NASDAQ:ASPS) which rose 49.10% to 27.39, Motricity (NASDAQ:VLTC) which was up 46.99% to settle at 1.220 and Courier Corporation (NASDAQ:CRRC) which gained 35.54% to close at 19.64.

The worst performers were The Wet Seal Inc (NASDAQ:WTSL) which was down 54.99% to 0.035 in late trade, Kingtone Wirelessinfo Solution (NASDAQ:KONE) which lost 18.69% to settle at 3.350 and Fibrocell S (NASDAQ:FCSC) which was down 12.34% to 3.48 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2406 to 394; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 2117 rose and 651 declined, while 3 ended unchanged.

Shares in Precision Castparts Corporation (NYSE:PCP) fell to 52-week lows; down 9.14% or 20.09 to 199.63. Shares in Avon Products Inc (NYSE:AVP) fell to all time lows; falling 1.84% or 0.14 to 7.47. Shares in Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) fell to 52-week lows; down 0.55% or 0.46 to 83.86. Shares in The Wet Seal Inc (NASDAQ:WTSL) fell to all time lows; losing 54.99% or 0.043 to 0.035. Shares in Courier Corporation (NASDAQ:CRRC) rose to 3-year highs; rising 35.54% or 5.15 to 19.64.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 5.76% to 21.10.


The dollar remained broadly supported near 12-year highs against the other major currencies on Friday, after data showing that U.S. consumer sentiment jumped to the highest level in 11 years in January overshadowed earlier U.S. industrial production and inflation data.

In a preliminary report, the University of Michigan said that its consumer sentiment index rose to 98.2 this month, the highest level since January 2004, from 93.6 in December, compared to expectations for a rise to 94.1.

The UoM's inflation expectations for the next 12 months ticked down to 2.4% in January from 2.8% in December.

A separate report showed that U.S. consumer price inflation fell 0.4% last month, in line with expectations and after a 0.3% decline in November.

Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, was flat in December, compared to expectations for a 0.1% rise, after a 0.1% uptick the previous month.

Data also showed that U.S. industrial production slipped 0.1% in December, confounding expectations for a 0.1% rise, after an increase of 1.3% in November.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.82% to 93.07, very close to Thursday's fresh 12-year peaks of 93.30.

USD/CHF advanced 2.02% to 0.8580, off lows of 0.7360 hit on Thursday, while EUR/CHF rallied 1.30% to trade at 0.9902, off the previous session's lows of 0.8204.

The Swiss National Bank shocked markets on Thursday by scrapping the 1.20 per euro exchange rate floor it imposed in September 2011, in a bid to stave off deflation and prevent the continued appreciation of the safe-haven franc.

The central bank also cut rates to minus 0.75%, from minus 0.25% and lowered its target range for the three-month Libor to minus 1.25% to minus 0.25%, from minus 0.75% to 0.25%.

EUR/USD hit fresh 11-year lows of 1.1522 and was last at 1.1525, down 0.93% for the day.

The euro was hit after official data earlier showed that consumer price inflation in the euro zone fell 0.1% in December, in line with market expectations, after a 0.2% decline in November.

The bloc's CPI rose at an annualized rate of 0.2% last month, unchanged from November.

Core CPI in the euro zone, which excludes food, energy, alcohol and tobacco, rose 0.4% in December, after a 0.1% downtick the previous month.

The data fuelled further concerns over persistently low levels of inflation in the euro area. The European Central Bank targets an inflation rate of close to, but just below 2%.

The dollar climbed higher against the safe-haven yen, with USD/JPY up 0.87% to 117.15, off one-month lows of 115.85 hit overnight, while GBP/USD slid 0.32% to 1.5132.

The commodity-linked currencies remained broadly weaker. AUD/USD shed 0.38% to 0.8182 and NZD/USD declined 0.66% to trade at 0.7772. USD/CAD hit fresh five-year highs of 1.2046 before retracing to 1.2016, up 0.51% for the day.

CTFC Commitment of Traders

The only significant change this week was a diminished bullishness for the S&P 500.



Gold prices slid lower on Friday, but remained with close distance of Thursday's four-month peak as the release of mixed U.S. economic reports continued to support the precious metal.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for February delivery were down 0.57% to $1,257.60.

The February contract ended Thursday's session 2.45% higher at $1,264.80 an ounce.

Several soft U.S. economic reports brought forth suggestions that the Federal Reserve could keep rates on hold for longer.

A delay in raising interest rates would be seen as bullish for gold, as it decreases the relative cost of holding on to the metal, which doesn't offer investors any similar guaranteed payout.

Gold futures also remained supported after the Swiss National Bank announced on Thursday that it would discontinue the minimum exchange rate of 1.20 per euro, while lowering interest rates further into negative territory.

Lower interest rates can give gold a lift, as it decreases the relative cost of holding on to the metal, which doesn't offer investors any similar guaranteed payout.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver for March delivery declined 0.73% to $16.978 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery held steady at $2.557 a pound.


Crude oil futures were higher on Friday, pulling away from a more than five-year trough as a positive signal from the International Energy Agency and Thursday's surprise policy move by the Swiss National Bank lent support to the commodity.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in February traded $1.28 or 2.77% higher to $47.53 a barrel during European early afternoon trade.

Prices plummeted $2.23 or 4.60% on Thursday to settle at $46.25.

Futures were likely to find support at $44.20, the low from January 13 and a more than five-year low and resistance at $51.27, Thursday's high.

Earlier Friday, the IEA said that a reversal in trend was possible this year, although adding that prices may fall further before the market begins to rise again. The IEA said on Friday:

"How low the market's floor will be is anybody's guess. But the sell-off is having an impact. A price recovery - barring any major disruption - may not be imminent, but signs are mounting that the tide will turn."

Oil prices hit the highest levels of the session on Thursday after the SNB announced that it would discontinue the minimum exchange rate of 1.20 per euro, while lowering interest rates further into negative territory.

Concerns over weakening global demand combined with indications that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will not cut output to support oil markets have weighed on prices in recent months.

At the same time, increasing supplies of crude oil from North American shale formations have helped create a glut in world markets.

Market participants were eyeing U.S. industrial production and consumer sentiment data due later in the trading session for further indications on the strength of the country's economic recovery after a string of mixed reports were released on Thursday.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for February delivery climbed $1.52, or 3.16%, to hit $49.80 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stranding at $2.27.

Natural Gas

Natural gas February, although the outlook has turned positive on the breakout, we have become overbought in short-term. Any profit-taking today meets support at 3285/3280 then 3250/45. If however we continue lower look for a good buying opportunity at 3205/3195. A low for the day is expected and we can try longs with a stop below 3165. Just be aware that an unexpected break lower however could target 3125. Try longs here with a stop below 3100.

There is quite strong resistance today from around Wednesday's high at 3340 up to 3360. We should struggle here and a high for the day certainly possible but we must be ready to go with a break higher is there is large gap to fill up to 3440/3450. Unlikely we will make it any higher today and it should be worth trying shorts with a stop above 3500.

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