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posted on 31 March 2017

Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 31 March 2017

Written by , Investing.com

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.31%

U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Telecoms, Financials and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%, while the S&P 500 index fell 0.23%, and the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.04%.


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The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), which rose 0.90% or 0.32 points to trade at 36.07 at the close. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) added 0.68% or 0.49 points to end at 72.08 and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) was up 0.23% or 0.15 points to 65.86 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), which fell 2.02% or 1.69 points to trade at 82.01 at the close. E I du Pont de Nemours & Co (NYSE:DD) declined 1.60% or 1.31 points to end at 80.33 and JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) was down 1.34% or 1.19 points to 87.84.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) which rose 13.15% to 69.59, Martin Marietta Materials Inc (NYSE:MLM) which was up 3.16% to settle at 218.25 and Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) which gained 2.88% to close at 23.91.

The worst performers were Incyte Corporation (NASDAQ:INCY) which was down 2.98% to 133.67 in late trade, Urban Outfitters Inc (NASDAQ:URBN) which lost 2.86% to settle at 23.76 and AutoNation Inc (NYSE:AN) which was down 2.76% to 42.29 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Akari Therapeutics PLC (NASDAQ:AKTX) which rose 58.51% to 11.070, Steadymed Ltd (NASDAQ:STDY) which was up 46.84% to settle at 5.800 and Dicerna Pharma (NASDAQ:DRNA) which gained 25.93% to close at 3.400.

The worst performers were Wins Finance Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:WINS) which was down 35.39% to 144.99 in late trade, Proteostasis Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:PTI) which lost 28.19% to settle at 7.82 and Pulse Biosciences Inc (NASDAQ:PLSE) which was down 24.46% to 20.410 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1906 to 1321 and 32 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1337 rose and 1159 declined, while 123 ended unchanged.

Shares in FMC Corporation (NYSE:FMC) rose to 52-week highs; rising 13.15% or 8.09 to 69.59. Shares in Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) rose to all time highs; gaining 0.23% or 0.15 to 65.86. Shares in Steadymed Ltd (NASDAQ:STDY) rose to 52-week highs; rising 46.84% or 1.850 to 5.800.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 7.45% to 12.40.

Gold Futures for April delivery was up 0.10% or 1.30 to $1246.30 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 0.79% or 0.40 to hit $50.75 a barrel, while the June Brent oil contract rose 1.00% or 0.53 to trade at $53.66 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.15% to 1.0660, while USD/JPY fell 0.52% to 111.35.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.06% at 100.39.

See also U.S. stocks close lower: Dow posts first monthly loss since October.

Read additional news from Reuters at Investing.com.

Forex

The dollar dipped against a basket of major currencies on Friday, after personal spending and consumer sentiment data was weaker than expected.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, shed 0.27% to 100.18 by 13:05 EDT.

U.S. economic data dominated moves in the greenback, as investors mulled over a slowdown in personal spending and consumer sentiment while a positive Chicago PMI print failed to lift sentiment.

The University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index slipped to 96.9 in March from an initial estimate of 97.6, which was well below economists’ forecast of an unchanged reading.

The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.1% against expectations of a 0.2% increase.

Meanwhile, the Chicago purchasing managers’ index rose to 57.7 in March from 57.4 in February. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, whereas a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Analysts had expected a Chicago PMI reading of 56.9.

Elsewhere, the Euro gained against the dollar, despite a slowdown in Eurozone inflation in March. Eurostat reported that the consumer price index (CPI), rose 1.5% in March, compared to expectations of a 1.8% increase.

EUR/USD rose 0.17% to $1.0695 while EUR/GBP fell 0.41% to 0.8527.

GBP/USD gained 0.62% to $1.2544, after the U.K. Office for National Statistics earlier said its final reading of fourth quarter gross domestic product was an increase of 0.7%, in line with expectations.

USD/JPY slumped 0.56% to 111.31, while USD/CAD dipped 0.31% to $1.3302.

Commitments of Traders

This week speculators were less bearish on EUR and JPY; more bullish on S&P 500 and Gold.

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

cot.2017.mar.29

Gold

Gold prices traded higher on Friday, buoyed by a weaker dollar, after the release of mostly negative economic data while uncertainty over the outcome of the European elections continued to increase demand for the yellow metal.

Gold for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $2.15, or 0.17%, to $1,247.05 a troy ounce by 13:41 EDT.

Gold prices recovered from a dip earlier in the session, as the dollar slumped to lows, after the latest batch of economic data revealed a slowdown in personal spending and consumer sentiment.

Dollar denominated assets such as gold are sensitive to moves in the dollar, as a stronger greenback, makes the precious metal more expensive for foreign holders, which lessens demand.

The University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment index slipped to 96.9 in March from an initial estimate of 97.6, which was well below economists’ forecast of an unchanged reading.

The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, rose 0.1% against expectations of a 0.2% increase.

Gold is on track for its best quarterly performance in a year, the yellow metal has benefited from a flight to safety in recent months, as investors sought refuge in the yellow metal amid uncertainty over the outcome of European election and growing concerns that President Trump’s promised economic stimulus package may be delayed.

Upside momentum in the precious metal could be capped in the coming months, as cash crunches in India due to the government’s recent demonetization will likely act as a temporary headwind for gold prices, according to a report from FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast - Commodities.

Elsewhere, silver futures, gained 0.25% to $18.267, a troy ounce while copper lost 0.62% to trade at $2.655.

Platinum lost 0.38% to $952.05 while Natural Gas shed 0.75% to $3.167.

Oil

Crude settled higher on Friday, but ended the quarter in negative, as investors questioned the effectiveness of the OPEC-led production cut agreement to tackle a glut in supply while the number of active U.S. drilling rigs rose for an eleventh straight week.

Oilfield services firm Barker Hughes reported its weekly U.S. rig count rose by 10 to 662, it was the eleventh straight weekly increase.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May delivery gained 25 cents to settle at $50.60 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent added 50 cents to trade at $53.62 a barrel.

Despite, a high level of compliance from OPEC members with a deal to cut production, crude futures ended the quarter down 5.8%, as investors focused on the lower level of compliance from eleven non-OPEC oil producers that joined the deal while a sharp increase in U.S. shale and crude production weighed on sentiment.

Eleven non-OPEC oil producers that joined a global deal to reduce output to boost prices delivered only 64% of promised cuts in February, an industry source said March 20, which was far below the roughly 90% level of compliance from OPEC members.

Meanwhile, investors worried that the faster pace of output from U.S. shale and crude producers could dampened OPEC’s efforts to reduce the supply and demand imbalance in the industry.

Despite, a dip in crude inventories on Wednesday, crude stockpiles remained at record highs - at over 520 million barrels, current crude supplies are up 6% over the past year.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

U.S. natural gas futures declined on Thursday, holding on to losses after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. fell broadly in line with market expectations last week.

U.S. natural gas for May delivery shed 3.4 cents, or around 1.1%, to $3.197 per million British thermal units by 10:35AM ET (14:35GMT). Futures were at around $3.196 prior to the release of the supply data.

It settled higher for the second day in a row on Wednesday after touching its strongest January 31 at $3.253

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. declined by 43 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 24, compared to forecasts for a drop of 42 billion.

That compared with a withdrawal of 150 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a decline of 25 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 27 billion cubic feet.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.049 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 17.1% lower than levels at this time a year ago but 12.2% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, traders continued to monitor shifting early-spring weather forecasts. Weather systems will track across the country the next several days with rain, snow, and thunderstorms, but with limited cold air as they play out spring-like, according to forecasters at NatGasWeather.com.

There remains potential for a bit colder system from April 7 through the 10th and will be dependent on how a weather system tracking over the southern U.S. phases with a cold blast over the Midwest.

Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting forecasts on early-spring demand.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.

Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating.

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