Tax bill hits bump, pressures stocks

by Staff
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Soybean futures

Recap for December 14

Republicans sought to keep the merged Senate-House tax cut bill on track as Senator Marco Rubio of Florida demanded larger child tax credits for low-income families. Declines in financial, health care and chemical shares offset gains in media stocks after Walt Disney said it would buy 21st Century Fox’s film and television studio and its international and cable TV businesses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 76.77 points to 24,508.66. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 10.84 points and closed at 2,652.01. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 19.27 points and closed at 6,856.53.

The U.S. dollar closed slightly higher Thursday on positive economic data. The Commerce department said November spending at stores, online shopping sites and restaurants rose 0.8% over the previous month. Initial jobless claims decreased by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 225,000 in the week ended Dec. 9.

Rains came down in Argentina and more was in the forecast, which pressured soy complex and corn futures Thursday. Wheat prices got a boost from better-than-expected weekly export sales. March corn lost ½c to close at $3.48½ a bu. Chicago March wheat gained 1½c to $4.18¼ a bu. Kansas City March wheat gained 2c to $4.18¼ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat closed 4½c higher at $6.17 a bu. January soybeans declined 11½c to close at $9.67¾ a bu. January soybean meal declined $5.20 to close at $321.60 a ton. January soybean oil eased 0.03c to close at 33.18c a lb.

Signs of increasing supply, including a report that U.S. shale producers have pushed global oil supply to the highest level in a year, pressured the oil market Thursday. However, the market is closely watching the shutdown of the Forties Pipeline system in the North Sea, which could result in 8 million fewer barrels of oil in the market if it remains closed for three weeks. Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery advanced 44c at $57.04 a barrel and the February contract gained 49c to $57.08.

Gold futures advanced Thursday. The December contract settled $8.40 higher at $1,253.80 an oz. The February contract gained $8.50 and closed at $1,257.10 an oz.

Recap for December 13

For the third time in 2017, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates on Wednesday, and chartered a similar course for 2018. U.S. equity markets had a mixed reaction, with the Dow industrials posting a fresh record, the tech-heavy Nasdaq advancing, and the S&P 500 taking a hit from the financial sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 80.63 points to 24,585.43. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index lost 1.26 points and closed at 2,662.85. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 13.48 points and closed at 6,875.80.

The value of the U.S. dollar continued to decline Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates and signaled that they don’t expect inflation to pick up steam as job gains slow.

Wheat futures posted modest gains Wednesday after settling lower for seven consecutive sessions. Corn and soybeans closed higher in low-volume trading. March corn gained 1¼c to $3.49 a bu. Chicago March wheat gained 6c to $4.16¾ a bu. Kansas City March wheat gained 5c to $4.16¼ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat closed 7c higher at $6.05½ a bu. January soybeans gained 3½c to close at $9.79 a bu. January soybean meal declined $2.20 to close at $325.10 a ton. January soybean oil dropped 0.24c to close at 33.21c a lb.

Inventory data raised concerns about a glut of U.S. energy products Wednesday, causing shares of oil and gas companies and crude oil futures to decline. Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery settled down 54c at $56.60 a barrel and the February contract fell 57c to $56.59.

Gold futures advanced Wednesday. The December contract gained $6.90 to close at $1,245.40 an oz. The February contract also gained $6.90 and closed at $1,248.60 an oz.

Recap for December 12

Soybean futures hit a three-week low Tuesday on the Chicago Board of Trade as the weather improved in Argentina and estimates of Brazil’s crop increased. Corn futures were briefly higher after the U.S.D.A. released its monthly supply and demand report, but turned lower by close. Wheat futures were lower after the report served as a reminder of ample world supplies. Kansas City March wheat fell 1½c to $4.11¼ a bu. Chicago March wheat declined 2¾c to $4.10¾ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat closed 3¼c lower at $6.05½ a bu. March corn lost 1¼c to $3.47¾ a bu. January soybeans lost 6¾c to close at $9.75¾ a bu. January soybean meal declined $3 to close at $324.70 a ton. January soybean oil dropped 0.01c to close at 33.45c a lb.

A rally off the shutdown of a key European pipeline prompted investors to take Profits Tuesday, and oil prices declined. Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery settled down 85c at $57.14 a barrel.

Ahead of the Federal Reserve’s expected interest-rate increase on Wednesday, shares in financial firms pushed up the Dow industrials and S&P 500 Tuesday, while the tech-focused Nasdaq faltered. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 118.77 points to 24,504.80. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 4.12 points and closed at 2,664.11. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 12.76 points and closed at 6,862.32.

The value of the U.S. dollar edged higher Tuesday on the expected interest-rate increase.

Gold futures closed lower Tuesday. The December contract lost $1.10 to close at $1,242.60 an oz. The February contract lost 50c and closed at $1,246.40 an oz.

Recap for December 11

Winter wheat and corn futures fell to fresh contract lows Monday on ample global supplies, while soy complex futures declined on forecasts of rain in parched Argentine growing areas. The trade also awaited Tuesday’s U.S.D.A. monthly supply-and-demand report. Kansas City March wheat fell 5¼c to $4.12¾ a bu. Chicago March wheat declined 5½c to $4.13½ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat closed 2½c lower at $6.08¾ a bu. March corn lost 3¾c to $3.49 a bu. January soybeans lost 7¼c to close at $9.82½ a bu. March soybean meal declined $4 to close at $327.70 a ton. March soybean oil dropped 0.16c to close at 33.46c a lb.

Crude oil futures advanced Monday on a pipe bomb blast in New York City, ideas that sharply colder weather could boost fuel demand and news of a major European pipeline shutdown for several weeks due to discovery of a hairline crack that was worsening, which sent Brent crude oil prices to two-year highs. January crude oil futures were up 63c to $57.99 a barrel. The February future advanced 61c to close at $58.05 a barrel.

Equity indexes advanced Monday ahead of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve later this week, as well as on support from higher energy and technology shares. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 56.87 points to 24,386.03. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 8.49 points and closed at 2,659.99. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 35 points and closed at 6,875.08.

The value of the U.S. dollar eased Monday ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting.

Gold futures fluctuated Monday but ended with small losses, also awaiting results of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting. The December contract lost $1.50 to close at $1,243.70 an oz. The February contract lost $1.50 and closed at $1,246.90 an oz.

Recap for December 8

Winter wheat futures fell to fresh contract lows Friday on abundant supplies while corn futures were up marginally. Soybean futures fell for a third consecutive session, just days after hitting a multi-month high based on Argentine weather concerns. Chicago December wheat declined 2¼c to $4.00¾ a bu. Kansas City December wheat fell 2¼c to $4.00¾ a bu. Minneapolis December wheat closed 1c lower at $5.97¾ a bu. December corn rose 1¼c to $3.40 a bu. January soybeans lost 2¼c to close at $9.89¾ a bu. December soybean meal declined $3.50 to close at $330 a ton. December soybean oil advanced 0.29c to close at 33.54c a lb.

Chinese customs data showed crude imports surpassed 9 million barrels a day in November, up from 7.3 million barrels the previous month. That, plus heightened geopolitical tensions, pushed oil futures higher Friday. January crude oil futures were up 67c to $57.36 a barrel. The February future advanced 69c to close at $57.44 a barrel.

Initial examination of the Republican tax overhaul plan caused technology company shares to dip and financial company shares to rise last week. By Friday, with the influence of a November jobs report suggesting U.S. economic growth on an upswing, both sectors finished higher, and pushed U.S. equity markets to do the same. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 117.68 points to 24,329.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 14.52 points and closed at 2,651.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 27.24 points and closed at 6,840.08. The Dow industrials and S&P 500 posted weekly gains while the Nasdaq posted a weekly decline for the second week in a row.

Inflation is muted and the labor market is strong according to a monthly Labor Department jobs report that pushed the U.S. dollar higher Friday.

Gold futures closed lower Friday. The December contract lost $4.60 to close at $1,245.20 an oz. The February contract lost $4.70 and closed at $1,248.40 an oz.

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