Wall St. up for sixth straight week despite oil rout
by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com
U.S. stocks ended mostly flat in a holiday-shortened session on Friday as a massive decline in the energy sector offset strength in consumer names, but major indexes rose for a sixth straight week.
The Dow Jones industrial average (DJI) rose 0.49 points to 17,828.24, the S&P 500 (SPX) lost 5.27 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,067.56 and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) added 4.31 points, or 0.09 percent, to 4,791.63.
Major indexes rose for a sixth straight week, the S&P’s longest streak since November 2013. For the week, the Dow rose 0.1 percent, the S&P rose 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.7 percent.
For November, the Dow rose 2.5 percent, the S&P added 2.5 percent and the Nasdaq 3.5 percent.
Read the full report from Reuters at Investing.com.
The dollar held gains against a basket of other major currencies on Friday, as trading volumes were expected to remain thin ahead of the Thanksgiving Day weekend.
EUR/USD touched session highs of 1.2490 and last at 1.2462, steady for the day.
Sentiment on the euro remained vulnerable after official data showed that euro zone consumer price inflation ticked down to an annualized rate of 0.3% this month from 0.4% in October, in line with expectations.
Core consumer price inflation, which excludes food, energy, alcohol and tobacco, remained unchanged at an annualized 0.7% in November, in line with market estimates.
The rate has now been below 1% for 13 straight months, well under the European Central Bank’s target of near but just under 2%.
The data was seen as increasing the likelihood that the ECB will implement additional stimulus measures in an attempt to spur growth and inflation in the euro area.
A separate report showed that the euro zone’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 11.5% last month, in line with expectations.
Earlier Friday, official data showed that German retail sales rose 1.9% in October, beating expectations for a 1.7% gain. The change in retail sales in September was revised to a 2.8% decline from a previously estimated 3.2% drop.
USD/JPY was up 0.68% to 118,53, while USD/CHF held steady at 0.9640.
A preliminary report earlier showed that industrial production in Japan rose 0.2% in October, confounding expectations for a 0.4% fall, after an increase of 2.9% in September.
A separate report showed that Japan’s retail sales rose by an annualized rate of 1.4% in October, below expectations for a 1.5% rise, after a 2.3% advance the previous month.
In Switzerland, the KOF Economic Research Agency said its economic barometer ticked down to 98.7 this month from a downwardly revised reading of 99.5 in October. Analysts had expected the index to rise to 100.1 in November.
The pound slid lower against the dollar, with GBP/USD down 0.61% to 1.5640.
Sterling came under pressure after the Nationwide Building Society said U.K. house price inflation rose 0.3% in November, less than the expected 0.4% increase, after a 0.5% gain the previous month.
Year-on-year, U.K. house prices rose 8.5% this month, slightly below expectations for an increase of 8.6%, down from a 9.0% rise in October.
The Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars were broadly lower, with AUD/USD retreating 0.43% to 0.8505 and NZD/USD falling 0.30% to 0.7846. Meanwhile, USD/CAD reached fresh three-week highs at 1.1426, up 0.83% for the day.
In a report, Statistics Canada said the country’s gross domestic product rose 0.4% in September, in line with expectations, after a 0.1% contraction the previous month.
Year-on-year, Canada’s economy grew 2.8% in the third quarter, beating expectations for a 2.1% expansion, after an upwardly revised growth rate of 3.6% in the three months to June.
The US dollar index, which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.25% to 88.24.
Gold prices declined on Friday, as U.S. markets were set to reopen after the Thanksgiving Day holiday on Thursday and as an abbreviated session of Comex floor trading was scheduled for Friday.
On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, gold for February delivery traded at $1,186.80 a troy ounce during European morning trade, down 0.89%.
The December contract settled just 0.03% lower on Wednesday to end at $1,197.5 a troy ounce.
Futures were likely to find support at $1,177.00, the low from November 20 and resistance at $1,199.30, Thursday’s high.
Markets were jittery ahead of an upcoming Swiss referendum on central bank gold reserves for more trading cues.
Swiss voters are set to go to the polls on November 30 to decide whether the Swiss National Bank would have to hold at least 20% of its assets in the precious metal, up from 8% now.
The most-recent opinion poll released last week showed that support for the “Save our Swiss gold” proposal slipped to 38%, down from 44% in a survey conducted last month.
The motion, if passed, would likely boost gold prices from current levels.
Gold prices also remained under pressure amid indications a strengthening U.S. economic recovery will force the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates sooner and faster than previously thought.
Expectations of higher borrowing rates going forward is considered bearish for gold, as the precious metal struggles to compete with yield-bearing assets when rates are on the rise.
Elsewhere in metals trading, Comex, silver for March delivery plummeted 2.73% to $16.153 a troy ounce, while March copper lost 1.10% to trade at $2.920 a pound.
Crude oil futures were sharply lower on Friday, still hovering near their lowest level since September 2010 after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries decided on Thursday not to cut output.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, U.S. crude oil for delivery in January plummeted $4.39 or 5.96% to trade at $69.32 a barrel during European early afternoon trade.
Futures were likely to find support at $67.77, Thursday’s low and resistance at $73.55, Thursday’s high.
Oil prices were hit after the OPEC said on Thursday that it would keep its official production target unchanged at 30 million barrels a day, disappointing hopes the oil cartel would lower output to support the market.
The 12-member group is responsible for approximately 40% of global supply. Their next meeting is scheduled for June 5, 2015.
Concerns over weakening global demand combined with indications that OPEC producers will not cut output have weighed on prices in recent months.
Elsewhere, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London, Brent oil for January delivery gained $0.48, or 0.67%, to hit $73.07 a barrel, with the spread between the Brent and the WTI crude contracts stranding at $3.75.
U.S. natural gas prices plunged sharply in holiday-thinned trade on Thursday, as updated weather forecasting models for the first week of December pointed to a return to mild weather, prompting investors to bet that utilities and homes will burn less natural gas as demand for heating falls.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in January fell by as much as 2.95% to touch a daily low of $4.274 per million British thermal units, before recovering to last trade at $4.280, down 12.3 cents, or 2.79%.
Futures were likely to find support at $4.155 per million British thermal units, the low from November 24, and resistance at $4.529, the high from November 26.
Forecasts for milder temperatures to settle in across much of the U.S. in early December after a blast of cold air exits weighed heavily on prices.
Bearish speculators are betting on the mild weather to dampen demand for the heating fuel. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
Trade volumes were expected to remain light on Thursday, with U.S. markets closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.
A day earlier, Nymex gas futures lost 4.8 cents, or 1.09% to settle at $4.355 as mild weather forecasts overshadowed the release of bullish weekly storage data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report released Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. fell by 162 billion cubic feet last week, compared to expectations for a decline of 150 billion.
The five-year average change for the week is a drop of 6 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.432 trillion cubic feet as of last week, 9.2% below year-ago levels and nearly 10.4% below the five-year average for this time of year.
The report came out one day earlier than usual due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S. on Thursday.
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