Weekly Wrap-Up 24 April 2015

April 24th, 2015
in contributors, syndication, forex

U.S. stocks higher at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.12%

by Staff,

U.S. stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the Consumer Services, Technology and Utilities sectors led shares higher.

At the close in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.12%, while theS&P 500 index added 0.23%, and the NASDAQ Composite index climbed 0.71%.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 1.44% to 12.30 a new 3-months low.

Follow up:

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which rose 10.45% or 4.53 points to trade at 47.87 at the close. Meanwhile, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) added 1.79% or 1.74 points to end at 98.74 and EI du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE:DD) was up 1.03% or 0.73 points to 71.52 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), which fell 0.98% or 1.47 points to trade at 148.40 at the close. United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) declined 0.94% or 1.10 points to end at 116.16 and Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) was down 0.82% or 0.27 points to 32.09.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) which rose 14.13% to 445.10, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) which was up 10.45% to settle at 47.87 and Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE:JNPR) which gained 8.92% to close at 26.14.

The worst performers were Xerox Corporation (NYSE:XRX) which was down 8.75% to 11.99 in late trade, Hanesbrands Inc (NYSE:HBI) which lost 6.82% to settle at 32.22 and Biogen Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) which was down 6.64% to 401.71 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Affimed Therapeutics BV (NASDAQ:AFMD) which rose 42.06% to 11.72, Looksmart Ltd (NASDAQ:LOOK) which was up 23.12% to settle at 1.970 and Hong Kong Television Network Ltd (NASDAQ:HKTV) which gained 18.77% to close at 9.11.

The worst performers were Aerie Pharmace (NASDAQ:AERI) which was down 63.63% to 12.87 in late trade, American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:AMSC) which lost 31.20% to settle at 6.88 and StemCells Inc (NASDAQ:STEM) which was down 25.60% to 0.610 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1561 to 1530 and 2 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1561 fell and 1224 advanced, while 6 ended unchanged.

Shares in Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) rose to all time highs; gaining 14.13% or 55.11 to 445.10. Shares in Juniper Networks Inc (NYSE:JNPR) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 8.92% or 2.14 to 26.14. Shares in Affimed Therapeutics BV (NASDAQ:AFMD) rose to all time highs; up 42.06% or 3.47 to 11.72. Shares in Aerie Pharmace (NASDAQ:AERI) fell to 52-week lows; losing 63.63% or 22.52 to 12.87. Shares in StemCells Inc (NASDAQ:STEM) fell to 52-week lows; down 25.60% or 0.210 to 0.610.


The dollar pared losses against a basket of other major currencies on Friday, after a U.S. durable goods orders report lent some support to the greenback, although ongoing uncertainty over the timing of a U.S. rate hike was likely to limit gains.

Official data showed that U.S. durable goods orders rose 4.0% in March, beating expectations for a 0.6% gain.after a 1.4% decline the previous month.

Core durable goods orders, which exclude transportation items, fell 0.2% last month, confounding expectations for a 0.3% rise. February's figure wad revised to a 1.3% decline from a previously estimated 0.6% fall.

The data came after a recent string of downbeat U.S. economic reports prompted investors to push back expectations for a rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.10% to 97.34.

The euro pulled away from two-and-a-half week highs of 1.0899 hit earlier in the session, with EUR/USD at 1.0832, still up 0.08% for the day.

The single currency strengthened earlier, after the Ifo Institute of Economic Research said that Germany's business climate index rose to a 10-month high of 108.6 in April from 107.9 in March, beating expectations for an uptick to 108.4.

GBP/USD was up 0.55% to 1.5138, just below a one-month peak of 1.5172 hit earlier in the day.

Elsewhere, the dollar was lower against the yen, with USD/JPY down 0.40% to 119.11 and steady against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF at 0.9548.

Earlier Friday, Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan warned that the franc could rise due to uncertainty over the Greek debt crisis and it the central bank remains prepared to intervene in foreign exchange markets to weaken what it sees as too strong a currency.

Jordan said the SNB is monitoring the effect of the crisis on the franc and the potential impact on Switzerland "very closely."

The SNB chairman was speaking at the central bank's general meeting of shareholders, in Berne.

The Australian dollar was still higher, with AUD/USD rising 0.36% to 0.7806, while NZD/USD slipped 0.14% to 0.7581.

Meanwhile, the dollar erased losses against the Canadian dollar, with USD/CAD up 0.12% to 1.2158.

CTFC Commitment of Traders

Bearish sentiment weakened this week for the British pound, Japanese yen, and both the Canadian and Australian dollars.



Gold prices were little changed in European morning hours on Friday, as the dollar began to recover from the previous session's downbeat U.S. economic reports and as markets eyed additional U.S. data due later in the day.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for June delivery were steady at $1,194.10.

The June contract ended Thursday's session 0.62% higher at $1,194.30 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,178.20, the low from March 31 and resistance at $1,204.40, the high from April 22.

The dollar recovered from losses posted on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Labor said the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 18 increased by 1,000 to 295,000 from the previous week's total of 294,000.

Analysts had expected initial jobless claims to fall by 4,000 to 290,000 last week.

Data also showed that U.S. new home sales dropped 11.4% last month to 481,000 units after a revised 5.6% increase to 541,000 in February. Analysts had expected new home sales to fall 5.3% to 513,000 units in March.

Market participants were now eyeing data on U.S. durable goods orders, due later in the day, for further indications on the strength of the economy.

By the end of the day gold broke more than 1.3% lower to close at $1,178.50 just above support at $1,178.20, the low on 31 March 2015.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for May delivery edged up 0.10% to $15.845 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery added 0.07% to $2.696 a pound.


Crude oil futures slipped lower on Friday, but remained with close distance of a four-month peak amid posible supply disruptions in the Middle East .

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil for June delivery hit $57.64 during European early afternoon hours, down 10 cents, or 0.18%. A day earlier, Nymex oil prices surged $1.58, or 2.81%, to end at $57.74. By market close in New York WTI settled at $57.29.

Oil prices remained supported as Saudia Arabia resumed air strikes on Houthi-targets in the city of Aden on Wednesday despite increased calls from the White House for a diplomatic solution to the month-long conflict. Yemen is strategically located on one of the world's largest chokepoints of oil.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that an Iranian flotilla suspected of carrying weapons bound for rebels in Yemen reversed course and headed home, averting a potential confrontation in the Gulf of Aden.

Crude futures had mildly weakened after Wednesday's government report showed that U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose by 5.3 million barrels last week, compared to expectations for an increase of 2.8 million. Gasoline stockpiles dropped by 2.1 million barrels, exceeding expectations for a decline of 0.7 million.

U.S. oil futures have been well-supported in recent sessions due to mounting expectations that U.S. shale oil production has peaked and may start falling in the coming months amid an ongoing collapse in rigs drilling for oil.

According to industry research group Baker Hughes (NYSE:NYSE:BHI), the number of rigs drilling for oil in the U.S. fell by 26 last week to 734, the lowest since 2010. It was the 19th straight week of declines.

Market players have been paying close attention to the shrinking rig count in recent months for signs it will eventually reduce the glut of crude flowing into the market.

Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for June delivery advanced 53 cents, or 0.82%, to trade at $65.38 a barrel. On Thursday, London-traded Brent futures rallied $2.12, or 3.38%, to settle at $64.85.

The spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stood at $7.74 a barrel.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

U.S. natural gas prices declined on Wednesday, after data showed that U.S. gas inventories rose more than expected last week, sparking fears over a drop in demand for fuel.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in May hit $2.548 during U.S. morning hours, down 4.9 cents, or 1.86%.

A day earlier, natural gas prices jumped 3.1 cents, or 1.20%, to close at $2.606 amid speculation utilities and power generators will switch from coal to natural gas in wake of the recent slide in prices.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.491 per million British thermal units, the low from April 15, and resistance at $2.625, the high from April 15.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said that natural gas inventories rose by 90 billion cubic feet in the week ending April 17, the most on record and exceeding expectations for an increase of 88 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.629 trillion cubic feet last week.

U.S. natural gas prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent weeks amid speculation the end of the winter heating season will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for the fuel.

Spring usually sees 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 49% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.


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