Market Commentary for the Week: 9 (26 February- 2 March 2018)

Markets fell last week, closing out February to the downside, and marking the first monthly loss for the U.S. stock market since October 2016. Global equity markets fell after new U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell suggested the U.S. economic outlook has strengthened more than expected. The remarks ignited fears that the Fed could raise U.S. interest rates four times this year. Stocks plunged further after U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted to impose tariffs on foreign metals. Volatility remained prevalent, with four of the five trading days during the week exceeding a 1% move.

 

 

U.S. stocks ended mostly higher on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq erasing an early decline to end higher as investors viewed the reaction to an announcements of tariffs as overdone. All indexes suffered sharp weekly losses. For the week, the Dow fell 3.1%, the S&P 500 lost 2% and the Nasdaq shed 1.1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.3% on Friday, to finish at 24,538.06, The Dow’s four-day decline marks its first such streak since September. 

 

 

The S&P 500 rose 0.5%, to end at 2,691.25.

The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 1.1%, to 7,257.87.

 

 

Crude-oil prices rose after another small rise in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for crude, but suffered a down week. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 26 cents, or 0.4%, to end at 61.25 a barrel. That left the U.S. benchmark with a 3.6% weekly decline.

 

 

Gold jumped on Friday, settling with a sharp gain as the threat of a global trade war pushed stocks and the dollar lower, underpinning a flight to the perceived safety for assets such as precious metals. April gold settled $18.20, or 1.4%, to $1,323.40 an ounce. For the week, the metal ended down about 0.5%.

 

 

The price of bitcoin bounced higher Thursday, as the market kept a close eye on developments about a reported probe by the SEC into the ICO industry. The No. 1 cryptocurrency, bitcoin was up around 4% to $10,719.91. Among futures markets, the Cboe Global Market’s March contract rose 0.7% to $10,770. The CME March contract was up 1.5%, to $10,815.

 

 

 

Ether was up 1.8% to $870.39.