Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 13 February 2015

February 13th, 2015
in contributors, syndication, forex

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

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U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Oil & Gas, Basic Materials and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.26%, while the S&P 500 index gained 0.41%, and the NASDAQ Composite index added 0.75%.

Follow up:

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), which rose 1.92% or 1.60 points to trade at 85.13 at the close. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) added 1.81% or 0.78 points to end at 43.87 and Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) was up 1.73% or 1.92 points to 112.78 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), which fell 2.98% or 2.40 points to trade at 78.08 at the close. Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) declined 0.66% or 0.23 points to end at 34.64 and Visa Inc (NYSE:V) was down 0.47% or 1.28 points to 269.63.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Pioneer Natural Resources Company (NYSE:PXD) which rose 6.55% to 157.85, VF Corporation (NYSE:VFC) which was up 6.00% to settle at 75.26 and Helmerich & Payne Inc (NYSE:HP) which gained 5.49% to close at 69.58.

The worst performers were Assurant Inc (NYSE:AIZ) which was down 7.50% to 61.44 in late trade, ConAgra Foods Inc (NYSE:CAG) which lost 4.37% to settle at 34.83 and DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc (NYSE:DVA) which was down 4.31% to 73.10 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Signal Genetics (NASDAQ:SGNL) which rose 122.16% to 3.91, Genetic Technologies Ltd (NASDAQ:GENE) which was up 30.94% to settle at 8.040 and Rocky Brands Inc (NASDAQ:RCKY) which gained 30.71% to close at 18.43.

The worst performers were Prana Biotechnology Ltd (NASDAQ:PRAN) which was down 33.54% to 1.090 in late trade, Corinthian Colleges Inc (NASDAQ:COCO) which lost 26.90% to settle at 0.021 and Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) which was down 15.79% to 2.24 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1808 to 989; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1748 rose and 1017 declined, while 11 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 4.11% to 14.71.

Read more about record U.S. index highs in an article from Reuters at Investing.com: S&P closes at record, Nasdaq hits 15-year high.

Forex

The dollar edged lower against the other major currencies on Friday, as downbeat U.S. consumer sentiment data added to concerns over the strength of the country's economic recovery.

In a preliminary report, the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index fell to 93.6 this month from 98.1 in January. Analysts had expected the index to remain unchanged in February.

The UoM also said its inflation expectations for the next 12 months ticked up to 2.8% in February from 2.5% last month.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.13% to 94.17.

EUR/USD held steady near a one-week high at 1.1405. The euro remained supported after preliminary data showed that the euro zone's gross domestic product rose 0.3% in the last quarter of 2014, exceeding expectations for a growth rate of 0.2% and up from 0.2% in the previous quarter.

An earlier report showed that German GDP rose 0.7% in the last quarter, beating expectations for a 0.3% increase and up from a growth rate of 0.1% in the three months to September.

Data also showed that France's GDP rose 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2014, in line with expectations, after the economy grew 0.4% in the previous quarter.

Investors continued to focus on developments in Greece after talks with European Union officials ended without an agreement on Wednesday, though both sides said there was still hope for a deal. Further talks are due to be held next Monday.

Greece's current bailout is due to expire on February 28 and the new Greek government does not want it extended, fuelling fears over a conflict with its creditors which could trigger the country's exit from the euro zone.

The pound rose to more than one-month highs against the dollar, with GBP/USD up 0.08% at 1.5401.

Elsewhere, USD/JPY slid 0.30% to 118.76, while USD/CHF was almost unchanged at 0.9311.

In Switzerland, data on Friday showed that producer price inflation fell 0.6% in January, in line with expectations, after a 0.4% decline the previous month.

The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars moved higher, with AUD/USDclimbing 0.41% to 0.7767 and NZD/USD gaining 0.38% to 0.7452, while USD/CADdropped 0.55% to 1.2439.

Statistics Canada earlier reported that manufacturing sales rose 1.7% in December, beating expectations for a 0.9% fall. November's figure was revised to a 1.3% decline from a previously estimated 1.4% drop.

CTFC Commitment of Traders

Speculators were more bullish on the S&P 500 and less bullish on gold this week. There were only minor sentiment shifts elsewhere.

cot-2015-feb-13

Gold

Gold prices gained ground on Friday, as the previous session's disappointing U.S. economic reports continued to weigh on the dollar and as investors awaited more U.S. data due later in the day.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for April delivery were up 0.77% to $1,230.10.

The April contract ended Thursday's session 0.09% higher at $1,220.70 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,216.50, the low from February 11 and resistance at $1,245.90, the high from February 10.

Gold futures strengthened after the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday that retail sales declined by 0.8% last month, worse than expectations for a drop of 0.5%. Retail sales fell by 0.9% in December.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, slumped 0.9% in December, disappointing forecasts for a 0.4% decline. Core sales in November dropped 0.9%, upwardly revised from a previously reported fall of 1.0%.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 7 increased by 25,000 to 304,000 from the previous week's revised total of 279,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 285,000 last week.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.14% to 94.16.

Traders were looking ahead to the release of preliminary data on U.S. consumer sentiment due later in the day, for further indications on the strength of the recovery in the labor market.

Meanwhile, market participants continued to focus on developments in Greece after talks with European Union officials ended without an agreement on Wednesday, though both sides said there was still hope for a deal. Further talks are due to be held next Monday.

Greece's current bailout is due to expire on February 28 and the new Greek government does not want it extended, fuelling fears over a conflict with its creditors which could trigger the country's exit from the euro zone.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver for March delivery jumped 1.13% to $16.987 a troy ounce, while copper futures for March delivery gained 0.61% to $2.618 a pound.

Oil

Crude oil futures rallied over 1% on Friday, as demand for the dollar remained under pressure after Thursday's disappointing U.S. retail sales and jobless claims data.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in March traded $0.81 or 1.58% higher to $52.01 a barrel during European early afternoon trade.

Prices surged $2.37 or 4.85% on Thursday to settle at $51.21.

Futures were likely to find support at $49.14, Thursday's low and resistance at $53.99, the high from February 9.

The dollar weakened after the U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday that retail sales declined by 0.8% last month, worse than expectations for a drop of 0.5%. Retail sales fell by 0.9% in December.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, slumped 0.9% in December, disappointing forecasts for a 0.4% decline. Core sales in November dropped 0.9%, upwardly revised from a previously reported fall of 1.0%.

Separately, the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending February 7 increased by 25,000 to 304,000 from the previous week's revised total of 279,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to rise by 6,000 to 285,000 last week.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.11% to 94.19.

Traders were looking ahead to the release of preliminary data on U.S. consumer sentiment due later in the day, for further indications on the strength of the recovery in the labor market.

Oil prices have fallen sharply in recent months as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries resisted calls to cut output, while the U.S. pumped at the fastest pace in more than three decades, creating a glut in global supplies.

Meanwhile, investors continued to follow developments in Greece after talks with European Union officials ended without an agreement on Wednesday, though both sides said there was still hope for a deal. Further talks are due to be held next Monday.

Greece's current bailout is due to expire on February 28 and the new Greek government does not want it extended, fuelling fears over a conflict with its creditors which could trigger the country's exit from the euro zone.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for March delivery gained $1.08, or 1.88%, to hit $60.36 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stranding at $8.35.

Natural Gas

Natural gas futures extended losses on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies fell less than forecast last week, underlining concerns over weak demand.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in March tumbled 5.1 cents, or 1.82%, to trade at $2.746 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at $2.790 prior to the release of the supply data.

Natural gas hit a session high of $2.882 earlier, the most since January 29.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.685 per million British thermal units, the low from February 11, and resistance at $2.924, the high from January 29.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended February 6 fell by 160 billion cubic feet, below expectations for a decline of 168 billion.

Natural gas storage in the U.S. fell by 115 billion cubic feet in the preceding week. Inventories fell by 234 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change is a drop of 178 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.268 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 542 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 11 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.279 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

A day earlier, natural gas surged 12.0 cents, or 4.48%, to settle at $2.797 after updated weather forecasting models pointed to frigid weather spanning from the Great Lakes-region to the Northeast through February 19.

Bullish speculators are betting on the cold weather boosting winter demand for the heating fuel.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.

Despite recent gains, natural gas prices are likely to remain vulnerable amid speculation supplies are more than ample to meet demand.

Futures are down almost 40% since mid-November as an unusually mild start to winter limited demand while production soared.

Coal

Read special report from International Business Times at Investing.com about the tough year facing U.S. coal in 2015 here.









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