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posted on 03 March 2017

Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 03 March 2017

Written by , Investing.com

U.S. stocks higher at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.01%

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

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.01%, while the S&P 500 index added 0.05%, and the NASDAQ Composite index climbed 0.16%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT), which rose 0.81% or 0.76 points to trade at 95.12 at the close. Meanwhile, Merck & Company Inc (NYSE:MRK) added 0.76% or 0.50 points to end at 66.58 and Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) was up 0.73% or 1.83 points to 252.89 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), which fell 1.90% or 1.10 points to trade at 56.70 at the close. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) declined 1.03% or 0.73 points to end at 70.03 and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) was down 1.01% or 0.84 points to 82.46.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) which rose 3.52% to 25.57, United Continental Holdings Inc (NYSE:UAL) which was up 3.15% to settle at 75.59 and Global Payments Inc (NYSE:GPN) which gained 2.99% to close at 80.61.

The worst performers were Macy’s Inc (NYSE:M) which was down 4.36% to 31.77 in late trade, Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST) which lost 4.35% to settle at 170.24 and Perrigo Co (NYSE:PRGO) which was down 3.71% to 72.76 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Rennova Health Inc (NASDAQ:RNVA) which rose 38.35% to 2.850, BioScrip Inc (NASDAQ:BIOS) which was up 26.03% to settle at 1.840 and Alphatec Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:ATEC) which gained 17.14% to close at 4.5800.

The worst performers were Atlantic Alliance Partnership Corp (NASDAQ:AAPC) which was down 21.35% to 14.00 in late trade, Nutanix Inc (NASDAQ:NTNX) which lost 26.09% to settle at 23.00 and Immersion Corporation (NASDAQ:IMMR) which was down 19.74% to 8.58 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1620 to 1585 and 50 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1281 fell and 1222 advanced, while 117 ended unchanged.

Shares in Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 3.52% or 0.87 to 25.57. Shares in Global Payments Inc (NYSE:GPN) rose to all time highs; up 2.99% or 2.34 to 80.61. Shares in Merck & Company Inc (NYSE:MRK) rose to 5-year highs; rising 0.76% or 0.50 to 66.58. Shares in Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) rose to all time highs; gaining 0.73% or 1.83 to 252.89. Shares in Nutanix Inc (NASDAQ:NTNX) fell to all time lows; losing 26.09% or 8.12 to 23.00.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 7.03% to 10.98.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.18% or 2.25 to $1235.15 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 1.16% or 0.61 to hit $53.22 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract rose 1.31% or 0.72 to trade at $55.80 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 1.08% to 1.0619, while USD/JPY fell 0.42% to 113.94.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.78% at 101.36

Read additional news from Reuters at Investing.com.

Forex

The dollar retreated further against a basket of major currencies on Friday, after Federal Reserve Chair Yellen hinted that a March rate hike would be ‘appropriate’.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, slumped 0.62% to 101.53, after hitting a seven-week high of 102.26 on Thursday.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday, she expected a gradual increase in interest rates this year and hinted that should U.S. economic data come in as expected, then further monetary tightening "would likely be appropriate" at the Fed's policy meeting on March 15.

“At our meeting later this month, the committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate," Ms. Yellen said.

Investing.com’s Fed Rate monitor tool, inched higher after Ms. Yellen's comments − 81.9% of traders expect a rate hike in March compared to 73.1% of traders prior to Fed Chair Yellen’s speech.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD rose 0.07% to $1.2276 while EUR/USD tacked on nearly 1% to 1.0600.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD held firm to trade at $1.3401, up 0.06%

Commitments of Traders

Crude oil net longs pulled back slightly from last week's all-time high. Bullishness increased for the S&P 500 and Gold. All other positions we follow in this report had relatively minor changes.

Note: This data is for the week ending on Tuesday so the last three days of trading are not reflected.

cot.2017.fmar.01

Gold

Gold prices traded lower on Friday, despite a dip in the dollar, as investors’ expectations of a March interest rate hike soared.

Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed $5.25 or 0.45%, to trade at $1,227.65 a troy ounce by 12:55 ET. Gold is on course to record its biggest weekly loss in nearly four months.

Top-tier U.S. economic data had little impact on the yellow-metal as investors focused on whether the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates at its next meeting on March 15.

Services PMI missed expectations while the ISM non-manufacturing index revealed a 57.6 reading for February.

Economists expected a services PMI print of 53.9.

According to investing.com’s Fed rate monitor tool, nearly 80% of traders expect a rate hike in March.

The likelihood of a March rate hike could receive a further boost, as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fisher are due to speak at 13:00 ET.

Gold is sensitive to moves in U.S. interest rates, which lift the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion, while boosting the dollar in which it is priced.

Elsewhere, silver futures traded higher at $17.78 a troy ounce.

Copper traded lower at $2.69 while platinum traded at $992.35 up 0.25%.

Oil

Crude settled more than 1% higher on Friday, as oil prices rebounded after a sell-off in the prior session while the number of U.S. oil rigs rose for the seventh straight week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery gained $0.73 to settle at $53.33 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent climbed 78 cents to settle at $55.86 a barrel.

Dollar-dominated crude benefited from a slump in the dollar, which tanked more than 0.5%, following comments from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, as she signalled that a rate hike in March would be “appropriate", as long as inflation and employment data continued to show robust growth.

Meanwhile, data from Baker Hughes on Friday revealed that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose by 7 to 609 rigs this week. It was the seventh straight weekly increase and added to concerns that record levels of U.S. crude stockpiles may curtail OPEC's efforts to rebalance supply and demand in the industry.

On Wednesday an Energy Information Agency (EIA) report showed crude inventories in the United States rose for an eight straight week to a record 520.2 million barrels for the week ended Feb 24.

The build-up in U.S. crude oil inventories to record high levels, overshadowed a Reuters survey on Tuesday that found OPEC cut its oil output for a second month in February, following a record high compliance level by OPEC members in January.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

U.S. natural gas futures were lower on Thursday, adding to losses after data showed that natural gas supplies rose for the first time since last March, cutting the withdrawal season short.

U.S. natural gas for April delivery fell 2.7 cents, or around 1%, to $2.772 per million British thermal units by 10:35AM ET (15:35GMT). Futures were at around $2.780 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. rose by 7 billion cubic feet in the week ended February 24, compared to market expectations for a drop of 4 billion cubic feet.

That compared with a withdrawal of 89 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 48 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 132 billion cubic feet.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.363 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 7.3% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 12.5% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Prices of the heating fuel are down a whopping 28% so far this year as forecasts for warm winter weather weighed on heating demand expectations.

Based on data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, this year’s extremely warm winter has pushed heating demand for natural gas to nearly 20% below average.

About half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating.

Without significant demand for natural gas, inventories could stay near record levels and may even continue to pull prices even lower.

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