Stocks mixed as Dow Jones average, S&P break losing streaks

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Crude oil futures

Recap for February 22

U.S. equity markets were mixed Thursday. The Nasdaq slipped for a fourth consecutive day — its longest losing streak since November 2016 — while the Dow industrials and S&P 500 each broke losing streaks to close higher. Energy firms performed best, with natural gas company Chesapeake Energy shares gaining 22% on the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 164.70 points to close at 24,962.48. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 2.63 points to close at 2,703.96. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 8.14 points to close at 7,210.09.

Corn futures edged higher and soy complex futures eased Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected each commodity would see about 90 million acres planted in 2018, mostly in line with trade expectations. Wheat futures closed higher. Chicago March wheat advanced 4c to close at $4.70¾ a bu. Kansas City March wheat rose 5c to close at $4.70¾ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat gained 1¾c and closed at $6.03 a bu. Corn gained 1c to $3.65¾ a bu. March soybeans dropped 2¼c to $10.32 a bu. March soybean meal lost $1.10 to close at $376.90 a ton. March soybean oil edged down 0.03c to 32.04c a lb.

Coming off a Wednesday rally, the U.S. dollar closed lower Thursday as investors analyzing minutes from the Fed’s January meeting failed to find indications of further interest rate increases beyond the three planned for this year.

An unexpected decline in U.S. crude stockpiles pushed oil futures higher Thursday. Crude in storage fell by 1.6 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 16, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. April light, sweet crude oil was up $1.09 to close at $62.77 a barrel.

Helped by a falling dollar, gold prices closed slightly higher Thursday after swinging between gains and losses for much of the day. February gold rose 60c to close at $1,330.60 an oz.

Recap for February 21

Winter wheat futures were pressured Wednesday by additional rain and snow across parts of the parched southern Plains hard red winter wheat region, while spring wheat futures ended narrowly mixed. Egypt’s purchase of only Russian wheat added pressure to wheat futures. Corn edged up and soy complex futures advanced on continuing concerns about drought in Argentina. Chicago March wheat dipped 2c to close at $4.47¼ a bu. Kansas City March wheat fell 6c to close at $4.65¾ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat declined 1¼c and closed at $6.01¼ a bu. March soybeans gained 7¾c to $10.34¼ a bu. March soybean meal added $1.50 to close at $378 a ton. March soybean oil rose 0.21c to 32.07c a lb. Corn edged up ¼c to $3.65¾ a bu.

U.S. equity markets, which had solid gains earlier in the day, closed lower Wednesday after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting indicated concerns about rising inflation and possible higher interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 166.97 points to close at 24,797.78. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 14.93 points to close at 2,701.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 16.08 points to 7,218.23.

The U.S. dollar closed higher Wednesday on concerns about rising inflation based on minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting.

Crude oil futures ended narrowly mixed Wednesday on strength in the U.S. dollar and expectations of an increase in U.S. crude oil production. April light, sweet crude oil was down 11c to close at $61.68 a barrel.

Gold prices edged higher Wednesday as the Federal Reserve’s January minutes gave no clear signal of a change in the pace of interest rate increases. February gold rose $1.20 to close at $1,330 an oz.

Recap for February 20

Wheat futures fell Tuesday on forecasts of increased moisture helping parts of the dry southern Plains crop. The soy complex was higher as analysts examined forecasts that could cut crop yield potential in Argentina. Chicago March wheat dipped 8½c to close at $4.49¼ a bu. Kansas City March wheat fell 6¾c to close at $4.71¾ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat declined 2¾c and closed at $6.02½ a bu. March soybeans gained 5c to $10.26½ a bu. March soybean meal added $3.20 to close at $376.50 a ton. March soybean oil added 0.32c to 31.86c a lb. Corn was 2c lower at $3.65½ a bu.

U.S. equity markets snapped a six-day winning streak Tuesday, partly on Walmart’s 10% tumble after the retail giant said online sales growth had slowed. Clothier Gap pressured the S&P 500 after the 49-year-old company said it would replace the president and chief executive officer of its flagship brand. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 254.63 points to close at 24,964.75. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 15.96 points to close at 2,716.26. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 5.16 points to 7,234.31.

The U.S. dollar closed higher Tuesday.

Crude oil futures advanced Tuesday. U.S. crude prices were buoyed by lower-than-expected inventories. March light, sweet crude oil was up 22c to close at $61.90 a barrel.

Gold prices were lower Tuesday, pressured by the dollar’s rebound and higher yields from the Treasury. The February futures contract lost $24.40 to close at $1,328.80 an oz.

Recap for February 16

After rallying most of the week, soybean and corn futures edged lower Friday as cautious investors attempted to discern weather forecasts for hot, dry Argentina over the three-day weekend with U.S. financial markets closed Monday. Wheat futures were mixed but mostly lower. March corn eased ¼c to close at $3.67½ a bu. Chicago March wheat dipped 4c to close at $4.57¾ a bu. Kansas City March wheat advanced ½c to close at $4.78½ a bu. Minneapolis March wheat declined 3¼c and closed at $6.05¼ a bu. March soybeans fell 2¾c to $10.21½ a bu. March soybean meal lost 40c to close at $373.30 a ton. March soybean oil dipped 0.16c to 31.54c a lb.

U.S. equity markets were mixed Friday with the D.J.I.A. and S&P 500 extending win streaks with slight gains and the Nasdaq closing slightly lower. All three were on track for higher closes after a Russian organization and several individuals were charged with interfering in the U.S. electoral process. Despite the lukewarm closes Friday, the S&P notched its best week since 2013 and the week’s previous sessions were enough to elevate the Nasdaq to its biggest gain in seven years. The D.J.I.A. also saw its biggest weekly jump since the election of President Trump. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 19.01 points to close at 25,219.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 1.02 points to close at 2,732.22. The Nasdaq Composite Index stepped down 16.96 points to 7,239.47.

The U.S. dollar closed higher Friday.

Crude oil prices made slight gains Friday and closed at a one-week high. Investors were reassured by a smaller-than-expected build in inventories. March light, sweet crude oil was up 34c to close at $61.68 a barrel. The April contract was up 38c to $61.55 a barrel.

Gold prices ticked upward Friday. The February futures contract gained $1.10 to close at $1,353.20 an oz, while April added 90c to $1,356.20.

Recap for February 15

A broad rally Thursday saw U.S. equity markets close higher for a fifth straight session. Large tech companies were among the day’s best performers: Cisco Systems and Apple together added more than 50 points to the D.J.I.A. The S&P 500’s tech sector was up 1.9% for the day for a 5.7% climb on the year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 306.88 points to close at 25,200.37. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 32.57 points to close at 2,731.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 112.81 points to 7,256.43.

At the end of a mixed session, soybeans, corn and wheat futures closed higher Thursday. U.S.D.A. export figures above pre-report estimates gave a boost to corn. The National Oilseed Processors Association’s report showed fewer soybeans were crushed in January than anticipated, though the figure remained on track to meet U.S.D.A.’s forecast. Winter and spring wheat closed higher after vacillating early in the session. March corn rose ½c to close at $3.67¾ a bu. Chicago March wheat gained 6c to close at $4.61¾ a bu. Kansas City March wheat advanced 8¼c to close at $4.78 a bu. Minneapolis March wheat was 8¼c higher at $6.08½ a bu. March soybeans advanced 7c to $10.24¼ a bu. March soybean meal gained $3.80 to close at $373.70 a ton. March soybean oil dipped 0.10c to 31.70c a lb.

The U.S. dollar dipped Thursday to its lowest level since December 2014, further helping to underpin agricultural markets.

Crude oil prices were higher Thursday. U.S. output has surpassed Saudi Arabia and now rivals that of Russia, heretofore the world's two biggest producers. That level of production — more than 10 million barrels a day — has helped wipe away most of oil's gains this year. March light, sweet crude oil gained 74c to close at $61.34 a barrel. The April contract was up 66c to $61.17 a barrel.   

A day after a weaker dollar propelled gold to its best day since March, prices edged down Thursday. The February futures contract lost $3.40 to close at $1,352.10 an oz, while April fell $2.70 to $1,355.30. 

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