Weekly Wrap-Up 09 October 2015

October 9th, 2015
in contributors, syndication, forex

U.S. stocks higher at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.20%

by Staff,

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

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.20% to hit a new 1-month high, while the S&P 500 index added 0.07%, and the NASDAQ Composite index climbed 0.41%.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 1.55% to 17.15 a new 1-month low.

Follow up:

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), which rose 2.80% or 3.25 points to trade at 119.33 at the close. Meanwhile, Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) added 2.37% or 2.59 points to end at 112.09 and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX) was up 1.12% or 1.06 points to 95.39 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), which fell 1.17% or 0.38 points to trade at 32.14 at the close. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) declined 0.99% or 1.80 points to end at 179.27 and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) was down 0.96% or 0.77 points to 79.26.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Autodesk Inc (NASDAQ:ADSK) which rose 7.45% to 50.84, American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) which was up 6.74% to settle at 42.42 and United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) which gained 6.60% to close at 55.71.

The worst performers were Alcoa Inc (NYSE:AA) which was down 6.81% to 10.26 in late trade, Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) which lost 5.81% to settle at 12.80 and Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) which was down 5.32% to 27.41 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Daegis Inc (NASDAQ:DAEG) which rose 96.34% to 0.805, Uni-Pixel Inc (NASDAQ:UNXL) which was up 58.47% to settle at 1.87 and UTi Worldwide Inc (NASDAQ:UTIW) which gained 51.06% to close at 7.13.

The worst performers were Superconductor Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:SCON) which was down 32.26% to 0.284 in late trade, SMART Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:SMT) which lost 28.36% to settle at 0.480 and Ldr Holding (NASDAQ:LDRH) which was down 26.35% to 26.67 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1344 to 1177 and 4 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1316 rose and 1168 declined, while 79 ended unchanged.

Shares in Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) fell to 3-years lows; falling 5.32% or 1.54 to 27.41. Shares in Superconductor Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:SCON) fell to 52-week lows; falling 32.26% or 0.136 to 0.284. Shares in SMART Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:SMT) fell to all time lows; down 28.36% or 0.190 to 0.480. Shares in Ldr Holding (NASDAQ:LDRH) fell to 52-week lows; losing 26.35% or 9.54 to 26.67.

Additional stock news from Reuters at


The dollar remained broadly lower against the other major currencies on Friday, amid declining expectations for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates before the end of the year despite comments by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart saying otherwise.

The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY up 0.30% at 120.27.

The Fed's September meeting minutes released on Thursday indicated that policymakers were still watching domestic inflation and the impact of slower global growth when considering when to raise interest rates.

The minutes fuelled further speculation that the U.S. central bank won't be raising interest rates this year.

The dollar showed little reaction when Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said that the Fed is still to likely raise interest rates later this month or in December.

Meanwhile, the yen remained under pressure amid expectations that the Bank of Japan could ease monetary policy as soon as its October meeting.

The dollar was lower against the euro, with EUR/USD gaining 0.58% to 1.1342.

Elsewhere, the dollar turned higher against the pound, with GBP/USD down 0.22% at 1.5314 and remained lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF sliding 0.41% to 0.9621.

Sterling wekened after the Office for National Statistics reported on Friday that the U.K. trade deficit narrowed to £11.15 billion in August from £12.20 billion in July, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated deficit of 11.08 billion.

Analysts had expected the trade deficit to narrow to £10.00 billion in August.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.92% to 0.7325 and with NZD/USD advancing 0.43% to 0.6696.

Earlier Friday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said that home loans increased by 2.9% in August, compared to expectations for a 5.0% gain. Home loans fell 0.3% in July, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated 0.3% rise.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD declined 0.43% to trade at 1.2959, off three-month lows of 1.2901 hit earlier in the session.

Statistics Canada reported on Friday that the number of employed people rose by 12,100 in September, beating expectations for an increase of 10,000, after a 12,000 gain the previous month.

However, the report also showed that Canada's unemployment rate ticked up to 7.1% last month from 7.0% in August, disappointing expectations for a fall to 6.9%.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was down 0.39% at 95.03, the lowest level since September 18.

CTFC Commitment of Traders

Speculators this week were slightly more bearish on the U.S. dollar and considerably more bearish on the S&P 500 after the strongest week for U.S. stocks this year. Bullishness increased for gold and silver.



Gold prices edged higher in European morning hours on Friday, as weakness in the U.S. dollar continued after the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting gave little indication on the timing of a rate hike.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold futures for December delivery were up 0.08% at $1,145.40.

The December contract ended Thursday's session 0.38% lower at $1,144.30 an ounce.

Futures were likely to find support at $1,136.30, the low from October 6 and resistance at $1,152.90, the high from October 7.

The Fed's September meeting minutes released on Thursday indicated that policymakers were still watching domestic inflation and the impact of slower global growth when considering when to raise interest rates.

The U.S. dollar has been under pressure recently by diminished expectations for a rate hike by the Fed this year in the wake of last Friday's unexpectedly weak U.S. jobs report for September.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback's strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 95.36, close to Thursday's three-week lows of 95.17.

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver futures for December delivery were little changed at $15.760 a troy ounce, while copper futures for December delivery rallied 2.47% to $2.401 a pound.


Crude oil prices edged higher in Asia on Friday as Fed signals that rates will stay on hold and moves afoot to trim output help.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, WTI crude for November delivery rose 0.23% to $49.55 a barrel.

In particular, concern about China was key in the Federal Reserve's decision to keep interest rates near zero, minutes from the last meeting released Thursday show.

"Many [officials] acknowledged that recent global economic and financial developments may have increased the downside risks to economic activity somewhat," the minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee said.

The relatively dovish minutes from the September meeting may bolster arguments that the FOMC could wait as long as March of next year before lift-off. Previously, it was widely believed the FOMC could raise rates either this month or when it meets in December. A rate hike is viewed as bullish for the dollar, as foreign investors pile into the greenback looking to capitalize on higher yields.

Dollar-denominated commodities such as crude become more expensive for foreign purchasers when the dollar appreciates.

As well, investors are looking to oil services firm Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) which last week said in its weekly rig count that U.S. oil rigs fell by 26 to 614 for the week ending on Sept. 25. It marked the fifth straight weekly decline and the sharpest drop since the week ending on April 24. With last week's decline, the number of rigs throughout the U.S. fell to the lowest total since August, 2010. Nearly a year ago at this time, the U.S. oil rig count peaked at 1,609.

Overnight, crude futures surged more than 3% on Thursday to reach fresh monthly highs, as energy traders continued to digest bullish comments from OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla Salem El-Badri on robust global demand growth over the next year.

On the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Brent crude for November delivery wavered between $51.30 and $53.51 a barrel before closing at $53.11, up 1.77 or 3.41% on the session. Brent futures exceeded $53 a barrel for only the second time since Sept. 1. Meanwhile, the spread between the international and U.S. domestic benchmarks of crude stood at $3.64, just above Wednesday's level of $3.62 at the close of trading.

In prepared remarks for an address in front of the International Monetary Fund's International Monetary and Financial Committee, El-Badri predicted that global demand will increase this year at a level considerably higher than previously anticipated. Citing stronger than expected demand in the U.S. and Europe, as well as South Korea, El-Badri forecasted that global oil demand will spike by 1.5 million barrels per day for 2015.

"The US has shown bullish oil demand growth for the first eight months of this year, with gasoline and jet fuel leading gains. Gasoline consumption was encouraged by lower oil pump prices, in addition to improving car sales," El-Badri said in the remarks. "A similar trend was also observed in OECD Europe with diesel and LPG supporting growth. In Asia Pacific, oil demand in Japan remained sluggish, indicating a contraction compared with last year. Declines in direct crude burning and fuel oil consumption have contributed negatively to oil demand growth. In contrast, South Korea saw a very bullish first half of 2015, with naphtha consumption in the petrochemical industry lending support to growth."

El-Badri's remarks have fueled speculation that OPEC could institute measures to raise oil prices in the near-future. Crude prices are down by roughly 50% since OPEC rattled global energy markets with a strategic decision last November to leave its production ceiling unchanged above 30 million barrels per day.

The comments also came on the heels of bullish projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration regarding a potential tightening of the global supply-demand imbalance. In its October Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA forecasted that global supply next year will rise to 95.98 million bpd, a level 0.1% lower than its estimates in September. In addition, the EIA also said that demand is expected to rise 270,000 bpd to 95.2 million bpd, amid stronger projections for Chinese demand growth. The forecasts represent a 0.3% increase from the EIA's projections in September.

On Wednesday, the EIA said that U.S. crude inventories for the week ending on Oct. 2 rose by 3.1 million barrels, slightly above expectations for a build of 2.2 million barrels. At 461.0 million barrels, U.S. crude oil stockpiles remain near levels not seen for this time of year in at least the last 80 year

See final report for the week from Reuters at Oil little changed after choppy trade, WTI ends at 11-week high.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

Natural gas futures rallied on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies rose less-than-expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in November was up 1.68% to $2.514 per million British thermal units. Prices were at around $2.499 prior to the release of the supply data.

In its weekly report the Energy Information Administration said natural gas storage in the week ending October 2 rose by 95 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for an increase of 98 bcf.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3,633 bcf the EIA said. Stocks were 443 bcf higher than last year at this time and 155 bcf above the five-year average of 3,478 bcf for this time of year.

EIA data shows that power plants account for approximately 32% of gas demand in the U.S. Demand for natural gas tends to fluctuate in the summer based on hot weather and air conditioning use.

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