Market Commentary for the Week: 16 (16- 20 April 2018)

Concerns over U.S.-Russian relations, coming talks on the Korean Peninsula, action in Syria and jitters over still-simmering trade conflicts have formed a cocktail of geopolitical worry. Economic data this week was mixed, but mostly pointed to renewed momentum, especially in housing starts and industrial production. The unexpectedly high reading for production in March puts the pace of growth at its fastest in almost 8 years, and along with the rally in metal prices, helped boost inflation expectations

Global stocks jumped higher early in the week, as the week progressed, expectations of strong first quarter earnings extended the rally.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Friday, with major indexes slumping in a broad decline, while posted a second straight positive week, adding on to the previous week’s 2% rally, leaving the S&P 500 flat year-to-date.



The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.8%, to 24,462.94 but ended the week 0.4% higher.

 The S&P 500 declined 0.9%, to 2,670.14 with ten of the 11 main indexes ending with losses. The consumer staples and technology sector were hit the most, falling 1.7% as investors were disappointed by quarterly results from Procter & Gamble Co. and Philip Morris International Inc. The technology sector fell 1.5%. Equities were pressured by a decline in Apple Inc. which shed 4.1% amid cautious analyst commentary over its upcoming quarterly results. Generally positive earnings news helped lift some sectors of the S&P 500 to gains. The energy sector led the way, surging on higher oil prices. Consumer discretionary and industrials stocks were also strong. The benchmark index posted 0.4% gain over the week.



The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped to 7,146.13, a decline of 1.3%. Over the week, the tech-heavy index rose 0.5%.



Gold prices posted a second week of losses, after settling 0.8% lower at $1,338.30 an ounce on Friday. Gold futures suffered a second consecutive session of losses on Friday, as strength in the dollar and gains in Treasury yields sent prices down.



The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, approached $70 midweek before moderating somewhat. Oil prices settled modestly higher Friday, shaking off earlier short-lived weakness sparked by a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump, to finish the week with a 1.5% gain. Trump had blamed OPEC for what he called “artificially high” oil prices, prompting a temporary fall in prices.



Digital assets roared higher Friday, pushing most major currencies to multiweek highs. Bitcoin was at its highest level since March 26. Bitcoin last changed hands at $8,518.13, up 3%. Futures ended in the green.The Cboe’s May contract settled 3.4% at $8,530 and the CME Group Inc. April contract is higher by 3% at $8,510.



Ether was up 4.5% at $593.23.