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posted on 29 December 2017 Weekly Wrap Up 29December 2016

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U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.48%

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

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.48%, while the S&P 500 index lost 0.52%, and the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.67%.

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The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), which rose 0.52% or 0.09 points to trade at 17.45 at the close. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) added 0.35% or 0.16 points to end at 45.88 and The Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV) was down 0.01% or 0.02 points to 135.64 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), which fell 1.08% or 1.85 points to trade at 169.23 at the close. UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) declined 1.04% or 2.31 points to end at 220.46 and Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) was down 0.94% or 0.50 points to 52.93.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were NRG Energy Inc (NYSE:NRG) which rose 1.68% to 28.48, Martin Marietta Materials Inc (NYSE:MLM) which was up 1.65% to settle at 221.04 and National Oilwell Varco Inc (NYSE:NOV) which gained 1.49% to close at 36.02.

The worst performers were Under Armour Inc A (NYSE:UAA) which was down 7.02% to 14.43 in late trade, Under Armour Inc C (NYSE:UA) which lost 5.80% to settle at 13.320 and Range Resources Corporation (NYSE:RRC) which was down 3.12% to 17.06 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Koss Corporation (NASDAQ:KOSS) which rose 114.58% to 3.090, Brainstorm Cell Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:BCLI) which was up 29.37% to settle at 3.9200 and Comstock Holding Companies Inc (NASDAQ:CHCI) which gained 24.09% to close at 1.700.

The worst performers were Energous Co (NASDAQ:WATT) which was down 38.39% to 19.45 in late trade, LiNiu Technology Group (NASDAQ:LINU) which lost 34.62% to settle at 2.040 and Live Ventures Inc (NASDAQ:LIVE) which was down 19.98% to 15.980 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1812 to 1266 and 137 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1748 fell and 797 advanced, while 115 ended unchanged.

Shares in Koss Corporation (NASDAQ:KOSS) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 114.58% or 1.650 to 3.090.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 8.45% to 11.04.

Gold Futures for February delivery was up 0.59% or 7.60 to $1304.80 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in February rose 0.45% or 0.27 to hit $60.11 a barrel, while the March Brent oil contract rose 0.71% or 0.47 to trade at $66.63 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 0.47% to 1.1998, while USD/JPY fell 0.19% to 112.68.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.37% at 92.00.

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The dollar fell against a basket of major currencies on Friday as both the euro and pound made large gains to end the year on a bullish note.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell 0.48% to 91.84.

In what was the final trading day of the year, the dollar continued to drift lower and is on track to post its worst performance since 2003.

The recent dollar weakness comes against expectations for further Federal Reserve rate hikes in 2018. Markets have priced in at least three rate hikes for 2018. Traders, however, have slashed their bearish bets on the greenback to the lowest level since mid-November.

The value of net short dollar positions was $2.18 billion in the week ended Dec. 19. That was lower than the previous week's net short position of $7.81 billion.

The euro, meanwhile, added pressure on the dollar rising to $1.2024, up 0.69%, shrugging off renewed Eurozone political jitters as Italy announced an election slated for March 4.

GBP/USD rose 0.68% to $1.3524, while USD/CAD fell 0.33% to C$1.2528 as the latter continued to add to gains amid bullish oil prices as crude futures rose to fresh two-and-a-half-year highs.

USD/JPY fell 0.25% to Y112.62

Commitments of Traders

Speculators have turned negative on the Australian dollar and significantly less bullish on the euro and the Mexican peso. Bullishness remains very high for oil.

Note: This data is for the week ending on Tuesday 26 December so the last three days of trading are not reflected.



Gold extended its rally to a three-month high on Friday, leaping toward its biggest one-year rise in seven years as a wilting U.S. dollar, political tensions and receding concerns over the impact of U.S. interest rate hikes fed into its rally.

Gold's gains coincide with the greenback, in which gold is priced, sliding toward its worst year since 2003, damaged by tensions over North Korea, the Russian scandal surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump's election campaign, and persistently low U.S. inflation.

The dollar index (DXY) touched three-month lows on Friday, lifting bullion to its highest level since late September at $1,307.60 an ounce before paring gains.

Strong charts, the weaker dollar and expectations of bullish fundamental factors ahead have bolstered gold prices in year-end trade, said David Meger, director of metals trading for High Ridge Futures in Chicago.

Spot gold prices were up 0.67% at $1,303.37 per ounce by 2:05 p.m. EST (1905 GMT), poised to finish 2017 up 13%. Benchmark U.S. gold futures settled up $12.1, or 0.93%, at $1,309.30 per ounce, finishing the year 12% higher. Referring to indications this month that the U.S. central bank, will keep its rate outlook unchanged in the coming year, Meger said:

"Going back to the last Fed meeting with its slightly more dovish tone, commodities markets have gotten a bit of a green light. This recent bout of weakness in the dollar certainly is fostering a commodities rally and we’ve seen a light downturn in equities as well."

The metal will be vulnerable next year to a rebound in the currency, as well as any gains in yields, ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. The opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing bullion increases when yields rise elsewhere.

Gold's chart signals look positive after it broke above its 100-day moving average this week at $1,295 an ounce, ScotiaMocatta's technical team said in a note, pointing to a target of October's high at $1,306.

Among precious metals, palladium posted the strongest rise this year, climbing 57% as concerns grew over availability after years of deficit.

Palladium eased 0.31% to $1,062.05 an ounce, having hit its highest level since February 2001 at $1,072 in the previous session. It has held in a historically unusual premium to platinum this quarter.

Silver was up 0.51% at $16.926, paring gains from a one-month high of $17.111. Platinum was up 0.11% at $924 after touching a four-week high of $936.20. This year, the two metals have risen by 6% and 3%, respectively.


U.S. oil prices closed above $60 a barrel on the final trading day of the year, the first time since mid-2015, as the commodity ended 2017 with a 12% gain spurred by strong demand and declining global inventories.

International benchmark Brent crude futures ended the year with a 17% rise, supported by ongoing supply cuts by top producers OPEC and Russia as well as strong demand from China. The spread between the benchmarks widened throughout the year, as Brent responded to the drawdown in supply from major world producers while U.S. output continued to grow.

The gains indicate that the global glut that has dogged the market since 2014 is shrinking.

Earlier this year, oil prices slumped on concerns that rising crude production from Nigeria, Libya and elsewhere would undermine output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia. But prices have rallied nearly 50% since the middle of the year on robust demand and strong compliance with the production limits.

Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston, said:

"That trend is likely to continue into 2018 and worldwide oil inventories will continue their decline."

Lipow said he expected U.S. crude prices to creep up to around $63 a barrel by the end of next year, while Brent would remain around $67 a barrel as U.S. oil exports rise to record levels.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled at $60.42, the highest close since June 2015. Brent crude futures were last up $0.45 at $66.62 a barrel at 1932 GMT. Brent broke through $67 this week for the first time since May 2015.

WTI prices were supported by data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration late on Thursday showing domestic oil production declined last week to 9.75 million barrels per day (bpd) from 9.79 million bpd the previous week.

Monthly EIA data released on Friday showed U.S. crude production hit a 46-year high in October, but the country's oil exports and demand also rose.

U.S. output is up almost 16 percent since mid-2016. Analysts expect production to top 10 million bpd in the next few weeks and to keep growing, limiting efforts by other producers to cap global supplies. Analysts at RBC Capital Markets wrote this month:

"The U.S. shale impact is now encroaching on uncharted territory," [saying it had] "redrawn the global crude flow map."

WTI prices were further boosted by an EIA report of a 4.6 million barrel weekly drop in U.S. commercial crude storage levels. Inventories are down by almost 20% from historic highs last March, and well below this time last year or in 2015.

Extreme cold weather across much of North America could also boost U.S. crude prices by causing production problems in the oilfields.


In international markets, China has issued crude oil import quotas totalling 121.32 million tonnes for 44 companies in its first batch of allowances for 2018.

China's imports at around 8.5 million bpd, already the world's biggest, are expected to hit another record in 2018 as new refining capacity is brought online and Beijing allows more independent refiners to import crude.

Pipeline outages in Libya and the North Sea have supported oil prices, although both disruptions are expected to be resolved by early January.

Libya is to start repairing the pipeline near the Es Sider terminal this weekend, a Libyan oil official said, while the Forties pipeline was already pumping close to normal levels, according to trading sources.

Natural Gas (Thursday Report)

U.S. natural gas futures increased gains in North American trade on Thursday -initially breaking the $2.90 mark immediately following storage data, despite the fact that the figures showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. declined slightly less than expected last week.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. fell by 112 billion cubic feet in the week ended December 22, while analysts had forecast a decline of 113 billion.

After the release, natural gas for delivery in February on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 15.8 cents, or about 5.8%, to trade at $2.890 per million British thermal units by 10:34AM ET (14:34GMT). The commodity hit an intraday high of $2.907 immediately following the release.

Futures had been surging by 14.6 cents, or about 5.3%, at $2.878 prior to the release of the supply data.

That compared with a draw of 112 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the preceding week and represented a decline of 62 billion from a year earlier and was 85 bcf below the five-year average.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.332 trillion cubic feet,1.8% than levels at this time a year ago and 2.5% below the five-year average for this time of year.

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