posted on 23 December 2016
by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com
The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), which rose 0.90% or 1.45 points to trade at 163.03 at the close. Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble Company (NYSE:PG) added 0.58% or 0.49 points to end at 84.96 and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was up 0.52% or 0.39 points to 74.97 in late trade.
The worst performers of the session were Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which fell 0.49% or 0.31 points to trade at 63.24 at the close. McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) declined 0.47% or 0.58 points to end at 123.14 and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) was down 0.44% or 0.23 points to 51.91.
The top performers on the S&P 500 were Williams Companies Inc (NYSE:WMB) which rose 4.16% to 31.56, Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (NYSE:DNB) which was up 3.68% to settle at 123.27 and Red Hat Inc (NYSE:RHT) which gained 3.35% to close at 71.01.
The worst performers were Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ:CTAS) which was down 3.11% to 116.36 in late trade, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (NASDAQ:BBBY) which lost 1.47% to settle at 40.77 and Arconic Inc (NYSE:ARNC) which was down 1.44% to 19.78 at the close.
The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Inventergy (NASDAQ:INVT) which rose 39.61% to 0.670, Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PTLA) which was up 33.80% to settle at 25.06 and Moleculin Biotech Inc (NASDAQ:MBRX) which gained 29.80% to close at 1.96.
The worst performers were Memorial Production Partners LP (NASDAQ:MEMP) which was down 55.77% to 0.180 in late trade, Strongbridge Biopharma plc (NASDAQ:SBBP) which lost 30.56% to settle at 2.5000 and Metabolix Inc (NASDAQ:MBLX) which was down 13.95% to 0.370 at the close.
Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1885 to 1318 and 63 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1703 rose and 790 declined, while 137 ended unchanged.
Shares in Memorial Production Partners LP (NASDAQ:MEMP) fell to all time lows; down 55.77% or 0.227 to 0.180. Shares in Strongbridge Biopharma plc (NASDAQ:SBBP) fell to all time lows; losing 30.56% or 1.1000 to 2.5000.
The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 0.09% to 11.44.
Gold for February delivery was up 0.22% or 2.45 to $1133.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.26% or 0.14 to hit $53.09 a barrel, while the February Brent oil contract rose 0.05% or 0.03 to trade at $55.08 a barrel.
EUR/USD was up 0.15% to 1.0452, while USD/JPY fell 0.15% to 117.37.
The US Dollar Index was down 0.08% at 102.99.
Read additional news from Reuters at Investing.com.
Trading of the dollar was light on Friday, as forex investors reduced activity in anticipation of the Christmas holiday.
The dollar has gained more than 5 percent against a basket of currencies ever since Donald J. Trump's unexpected U.S. presidential election win on Nov. 8.
The euro was up against the dollar at about 2:30 p.m. Eastern today, by 0.11%, at 1.0444.
The dollar was up against the yet at the same time, by 0.23%, at 117.24.
The dollar was also up against the pound, by 0.8%, at 1.2271
The greenback will likely reach new multi-year heights when investors return from the holiday break, according to leading market analysts.
Traders are seen as being very risk-averse now, fearing the loss of forex gains before the end of the year, news reports indicated.
Anticipation that President-elect Trump's policies will reignite a stagnant U.S. economy has been behind the surge in the dollar, as well as the major market indexes, the Dow, The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 during the last two months, as per the financial media consensus view.
This week speculators became less bearish on the euro; more bearish on the yen; crude oil net longs rose to a 2-year high. Speculators were less bearish this week on the euro, the pound, the S&P 500; they were more bullish on oil.
Note: This data is for the week ending on Tuesday so the last three days of trading are not reflected.
The price of gold settled at $1133.30 on Friday, up $2.60 per troy ounce, or 0.23%.
News from around the globe may be giving the precious metal, whose price has been tarnished lately, a significant boost.
Reports emerged this week that the government of India are poised to cut taxes on gold.
The government there is seeking to drop gold import taxes to 6%, a major reduction from the present 10% import tax.
The lower taxes are part of a policy to curb gold smuggling, experts said, noting the black market for gold there has grown since taxes were increased earlier this year.
Analysts reckon the price of gold may be bolstered if this policy is implemented.
Singapore's Sharia-Compliant Gold Futures
Other gold policy news is influencing the market price today.
This week, the Singapore Exchange launched its first sharia-compliant gold futures contract, developed to meet all requirements for Islamic finance. This will allow buyers in the Muslim world to ethically wade into the market.
Earlier, Bahrain’s Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions released new guidelines on gold and silver purchases for Islamic investors.
In another development, Nigerian mines minister Kayode Fayemi said the federal government has obtained $150 million from the World Bank to support a national mining investment fund.
Developers of gold, zinc and other metals across Nigeria now have a major source of project funding.
The market was not very active today, as the Christmas holiday weekend sent many home early from work.
Traders continue to worry that OPEC will not be able to keep producers in line and force a production cut next year.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in war-torn Iraq appears poised to ignore the OPEC agreement last month to slash oil production and is planning to increase output in the coming weeks, according to industry sources.
Since the U.S. pullout of most troops from Iraq, Baghdad has no control over the regional Kurdistan government. The government is not sovereign, and is not recognized by the international community as such, and so it was not given a seat at the Nov. 30 meeting of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries in Vienna, and so could not make its objections known widely at the time of the production cutting accord.
Keeping oil production high, or even increasing it, is high on the agenda of Kurdish leaders in Iraq.
Reducing output would force the cash-strapped regional authority to further delay paying its Peshmerga soldiers, who have been ISIS’ most formidable regional foes on the battlefield.
Per the OPEC deal, Iraq agreed to reduce crude output by 210,000 barrels a day from October levels.
But Kurdistan controls about 600,000 barrels a day of oil production, nearly 12% of Iraq’s oil output.
Due to the schism between the KRG and Baghdad, Iraq’s central government has absolutely no power to order the KRG to reduce production.
Companies, like the Kar Group, operating in Kurdistan indicate that they are planning to boost oil production early next year by 40,000 barrels a day.
Natural Gas (Thursday Report)
U.S. natural gas futures rose to a two-week high on Thursday morning, after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. fell much more than the five-year average for this time of year last week.
Natural gas for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange tacked on 2.0 cents, or 0.6%, to $3.562 per million British thermal units by 10:45AM ET (15:45GMT). It rallied to as high as $3.627 in the immediate aftermath of the bullish storage report. Futures were at around $3.595 prior to the release of the supply data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. declined by 209 billion cubic feet in the week ended December 16, exceeding market expectations for a drop of 201 billion cubic feet.
It was the biggest withdrawal for the week since 2010.
That compared with a decline of 147 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 32 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 101 billion cubic feet.
Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.597 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 5.9% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 2.1% above the five-year average for this time of year.
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