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posted on 24 March 2017

Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 24 March 2017

Written by , Investing.com

U.S. stocks mixed at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.29%

U.S. stocks were mixed after the close on Friday, as gains in the Utilities, Telecoms and Technology sectors led shares higher while losses in the Basic Materials, Oil & Gas and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.29% to hit a new 1-month low, while the S&P 500 index lost 0.08%, and the NASDAQ Composite index climbed 0.19%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), which rose 1.79% or 0.99 points to trade at 56.36 at the close. Meanwhile, American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) added 0.46% or 0.36 points to end at 78.20 and Visa Inc (NYSE:V) was up 0.37% or 0.33 points to 89.19 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS), which fell 1.50% or 3.49 points to trade at 228.41 at the close. E I du Pont de Nemours & Co (NYSE:DD) declined 1.19% or 0.96 points to end at 79.60 and Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) was down 0.85% or 0.29 points to 34.00.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Frontier Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:FTR) which rose 7.73% to 2.09, Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) which was up 7.40% to settle at 28.43 and Centene Corporation (NYSE:CNC) which gained 5.24% to close at 68.73.

The worst performers were Martin Marietta Materials Inc (NYSE:MLM) which was down 2.93% to 207.24 in late trade, Fluor Corporation (NYSE:FLR) which lost 2.52% to settle at 51.44 and Nucor Corporation (NYSE:NUE) which was down 2.45% to 59.76 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were HTG Molecular Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ:HTGM) which rose 145.55% to 9.650, Staffing 360 Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:STAF) which was up 48.98% to settle at 0.730 and Zais Group Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:ZAIS) which gained 29.20% to close at 2.920.

The worst performers were Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:XENE) which was down 52.79% to 4.65 in late trade, Argos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ARGS) which lost 32.66% to settle at 0.49 and Medigus Ltd (NASDAQ:MDGS) which was down 24.04% to 3.350 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1658 to 1548 and 47 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1376 rose and 1110 declined, while 111 ended unchanged.

Shares in Micron Technology Inc (NASDAQ:MU) rose to 52-week highs; up 7.40% or 1.96 to 28.43. Shares in HTG Molecular Diagnostics Inc (NASDAQ:HTGM) rose to 52-week highs; up 145.55% or 5.720 to 9.650. Shares in Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:XENE) fell to all time lows; losing 52.79% or 5.20 to 4.65. Shares in Argos Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:ARGS) fell to all time lows; falling 32.66% or 0.24 to 0.49.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 0.61% to 13.04.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.09% or 1.15 to $1246.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 0.86% or 0.41 to hit $48.11 a barrel, while the May Brent oil contract rose 0.81% or 0.41 to trade at $50.97 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.18% to 1.0802, while USD/JPY rose 0.19% to 111.14.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.04% at 99.52.

See also U.S. equities close mixed after health care bill gets the boot and Top 5 things that moved markets this past week.

Read additional news from Reuters at Investing.com.

Forex

The U.S. House of Representatives’ withdrew a healthcare bill to repeal and replace Obamacare on Friday, as chances of passing the bill appeared slim amid a lack of votes.

The vote on the bill was scheduled for 15:30 EDT but the House went into recess as Republicans deliberated whether to proceed with a vote on the bill.

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The dollar moved sharply higher on the news, as some investors seemed to focus on other parts of Trump’s political agenda, which includes tax reform.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, gained 0.02% to 99.58 by 16:00 EDT.

EUR/USD was up 0.18% to 1.0802, while USD/JPY rose 0.19% to 111.14.

The sharp rise in the greenback weighed on gold, as the Gold Futures fell 0.09% to $1,246.15.

Commitments of Traders

Crude oil bullishness continued to pull back, but still remained at very high levels. Bullishness declined sharply for the S&P 500 as both longs and shorts declined - the longs by almost 2.5x as much as the shorts. Bearishness decreased for the euro.

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

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Gold

Gold prices traded slightly above break even on Friday, buoyed by a dip in the dollar, as weaker than expected economic data and fears that President Trump failed to secure enough Republican votes to push a key healthcare bill through congress weighed on the greenback.

The outcome of a vote on a bill to repeal and replace parts of Obamacare remained front and centre on Friday, as investors worried that a negative outcome would cast a doubt on Trump’s ability to push through more ‘market sensitive’ legislation such as a tax reform.

Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $0.65 or 0.04%, to trade at $1,243.85 a troy ounce by 12:54 EDT. The yellow metal remained on track for a second weekly gain. Gold Futures ended the day at $1,246.15, down 0.09% for the day, but still up for the week.

A slump in the dollar to near seven-week lows continued to lend support to dollar-denominated gold, as dollar weakness tends to increase demand for the yellow metal from holders of other currencies.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, lost 0.06% to 99.50 by 12:43 EDT, as a weaker than expected core durable goods print for February weighed on sentiment. It closed at 99.58, up 0.02%.

The Commerce Department said on Friday, orders for core durable goods, a category that excludes aircraft and military goods, rose 0.4% in February, which was less than economists’ forecast of a 0.5% rise.

Elsewhere, silver futures rose 0.76% to $17.727, a troy ounce while copper sank 0.62% to $2.628.

Platinum fell 0.08% to $966.60 while Natural Gas tacked on 0.62% to trade at $3.070.

Oil

Crude settled higher on Friday, but ultimately ended the week negative, as record levels of U.S. crude inventories continued to weigh oil prices while the number of active U.S. drilling rigs rose for a tenth straight week.

Oilfield services firm Baker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. rig count rose by 21 to 652, it was the tenth straight weekly increase.

Fears of a glut in U.S. crude inventories came against bullish comments from a Saudi energy ministry official on Thursday, who told Reuters that crude exports to the United States in March would fall by around 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) from February and hold at those levels for the next few months.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery gained 27 cents to settle at $47.97 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent added 25 cents to $50.81 a barrel.

Oil prices have slumped over the last two weeks, as investors started to question the effectiveness of OPEC’s efforts to reduce supply in the midst of rising levels of U.S. crude production.

U.S. crude oil stockpiles rose to an all-time high of 533.1 million barrels for the week ended March 15, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Wednesday.

Non-OPEC producers that joined a global deal to reduce output to boost prices delivered 64% of promised cuts in February, an industry source said last Friday.

Meanwhile, investors braced for a fresh batch of weekly data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) due to be released on Wednesday, March 29 at 10:30 EDT.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

U.S. natural gas futures reversed gains on Thursday morning, turning lower after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. fell broadly in line with market expectations.

U.S. natural gas for April delivery shed 1.8 cents, or around 0.6% to $2.992 per million British thermal units by 10:45AM ET (14:45GMT). Futures were at around $3.046 prior to the release of the supply data.

It settled lower for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday, falling 8.2 cents, or about 2.7%, as traders monitored shifting early-spring weather forecasts.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. declined by 150 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 17, matching forecasts.

That compared with a withdrawal of 53 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a build of 15 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 21 billion cubic feet.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.092 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 16% lower than levels at this time a year ago but 12.7% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models showed that warm to mild conditions will dominate most of the U.S. this weekend, even as a spring-like weather system with heavy showers and thunderstorms impacts the central U.S.

Next week will be mostly mild to warm across the country with limited demand for heating or cooling besides the far northern U.S., according to forecasters at NatGasWeather.com.

Prices of the heating fuel are down around 20% 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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