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posted on 10 March 2017

Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 10 March 2017

Written by , Investing.com

U.S. stocks higher at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.21%

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

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.21%, while the S&P 500 index added 0.33%, and the NASDAQ Composite index gained 0.39%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), which rose 2.09% or 0.62 points to trade at 30.28 at the close. Meanwhile, UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) added 1.17% or 1.97 points to end at 169.98 and Caterpillar Inc (NYSE:CAT) was up 1.01% or 0.92 points to 92.31 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Boeing Co (NYSE:BA), which fell 1.04% or 1.87 points to trade at 178.70 at the close. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) declined 0.72% or 1.80 points to end at 248.38 and Merck & Company Inc (NYSE:MRK) was down 0.44% or 0.29 points to 65.60.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) which rose 4.62% to 286.42, Estee Lauder Companies Inc (NYSE:EL) which was up 3.50% to settle at 85.78 and Endo International PLC (NASDAQ:ENDP) which gained 2.75% to close at 10.82.

The worst performers were Transdigm Group Incorporated (NYSE:TDG) which was down 4.25% to 231.37 in late trade, SL Green Realty Corporation (NYSE:SLG) which lost 1.99% to settle at 106.68 and Hess Corporation (NYSE:HES) which was down 1.98% to 47.42 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Cerecor Inc (NASDAQ:CERC) which rose 64.38% to 1.200, Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:CATB) which was up 53.38% to settle at 2.040 and Mrv Communicatio (NASDAQ:MRVC) which gained 41.96% to close at 10.15.

The worst performers were FalconStor Software Inc (NASDAQ:FALC) which was down 30.16% to 0.433 in late trade, Ocera Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:OCRX) which lost 25.93% to settle at 1.400 and Finisar Corporation (NASDAQ:FNSR) which was down 22.69% to 26.98 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2103 to 1110 and 44 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1376 rose and 1117 declined, while 127 ended unchanged.

Shares in Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ:ULTA) rose to all time highs; gaining 4.62% or 12.65 to 286.42. Shares in UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) rose to all time highs; rising 1.17% or 1.97 to 169.98. Shares in FalconStor Software Inc (NASDAQ:FALC) fell to all time lows; losing 30.16% or 0.187 to 0.433.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 5.04% to 11.68.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.07% or 0.85 to $1204.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April fell 1.70% or 0.84 to hit $48.44 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract fell 1.57% or 0.82 to trade at $51.37 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 1.03% to 1.0685, while USD/JPY fell 0.22% to 114.72.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.67% at 101.30.

See also Dow, Nasdaq and S&P close higher but end six-week win streak.

Read additional news from Reuters at Investing.com.

Forex

The euro rallied late on Friday, after a report surfaced that the European Central Bank (ECB) had discussed the possibility of introducing a rate hike before the end of its quantitative easing (QE) programme.

A report that the European Central Bank had discussed whether rates could rise before it ends its QE programme sent the single currency soaring to a three-week high and came fresh off the heels of a somewhat bullish statement from ECB President Mario Draghi on Thursday.

Mr Draghi said “there is no longer that sense of urgency" for the ECB to use ultra-loose monetary policy to achieve its mandates.

The euro notched up more than 1% against the dollar, as EUR/USD hit a session high of $1.0699 late on Friday.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, slipped 0.70% to 101.27 by 16:08 ET despite the U.S. economy adding more jobs than expected in February.

The Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report showed employers added 235,000 jobs last month, beating expectations for a 200,000 rise.

Meanwhile, the dollar slipped further away from its Canadian counterpart with USD/CAD down 0.37% to $1.3462 after a bullish Canadian jobs report for February.

Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 6.6% last month from 6.8% in January. Analysts had expected an unchanged reading last month.

USD/JPY traded at 114.73 down 0.21%.

Commitments of Traders

Crude oil net longs pulled back further from all-time high all-time high two weeks ago. Bullishness increased for the S&P 500. Bullishness pulled back for 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.mar.08

Gold

Gold prices traded slightly lower on Friday before recovering late, as the dollar slumped, despite a rise in expectations of a March rate hike to its highest level, after U.S. jobs data for February beat expectations.

Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange shed $1.25 or 0.19%, to trade at $1,201.95 a troy ounce in the early afternoon. By the end of the day it moved up to close at 0.07% or $0.85 at $1204.05.

Gold pared losses sustained from the early morning trade and benefited from a slump in the dollar, after a US jobs report showed wage growth slowed while non-farm payrolls beat expectations.

The Labor Department's non-farm payrolls report showed employers added 235,000 jobs last month, beating expectations for 200,000.

Wage growth stuttered in February and rose by only 0.2% compared to forecasts of a 0.3% increase.

The weaker wage growth raised doubts concerning the pace of rate hikes this year, as the U.S. 10-Year fell 0.34% to 2.589.

According to Investing.com’s Fed rate monitor tool, 93% of traders expect a rate hike in March, compared to just 80% of traders on Monday.

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 dropped 0.62% to $16.93 a troy ounce while copper traded higher at $2.594.

Platinum traded at $938.20 up 0.11%

Oil

Crude settled more than 1% lower on Friday, as growing U.S. crude inventories to record levels continued to weigh on oil prices while the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil rose for an eighth straight week.

Crude prices slipped for a third straight day of losses, as investors continued to fret about oversupply in the industry.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. rig count rose by 8 to 617, it was the eighth straight weekly increase.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery lost $0.79 to settle at $48.49 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent shed $0.91 to $51.28 a barrel.

The slide in crude prices began on Wednesday, after the Energy Information Agency (EIA) reported that U.S. crude inventories rose to an all-time high of 528.4 million barrels for the week ended March 1.

Record U.S. crude inventories has cast a doubt on the efficacy of OPEC’s efforts to rebalance supply and demand, after the oil cartel group agreed a deal to cut production last November.

OPEC began implementing cuts of 1.16 million barrels per day at the start of this year for a period of six months, after its members and other exporters agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to combat the oversupply issue that has pressured prices over the last two years.

Oil prices have slipped away from a narrow $3 trading range and suffered their biggest weekly drop in five months on Friday.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

U.S. natural gas futures extended gains in North American trade on Thursday, after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. fell more than expected last week.

Natural gas for delivery in April on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 6.2 cents, or 2.14%, to trade at $2.963 per million British thermal units by 10:33AM ET (15:33GMT).

Futures were at around $2.952 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. fell by 68 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 3, while analysts had forecast a fall of 61 billion.

That compared with a build of 7 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a decline of 57 billion a year earlier and a five-year average decline of 136 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.295 trillion cubic feet, 7.7% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 18.8% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, traders continued to monitor shifting weather forecasts to gauge demand for the fuel.

Weather forecasts for the next 8-to-15 days showed that rain, snow, and cool temperatures will track across the northern and eastern U.S., boosting demand expectations for the heating fuel.

At the same time, the southern half of the U.S. will be warmer than normal as high pressure dominates with highs reaching the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit.

Prices of the heating fuel are down around 22% 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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