US markets stage late recovery ahead of Presidents Day

By Trevor Hoey. Published at Feb 20, 2017, in Features

After lacklustre morning and early afternoon trading which saw the Dow mainly hover in negative territory, all major US indices surged in the last two hours of trading, resulting in the Dow finishing just up on the previous day’s close while the NASDAQ put on 0.4% and the S&P 500 was up nearly 0.2%. All major US indices notched up another day of all-time records providing a strong platform for President Trump to address the masses on Monday, which is Presidents Day when US markets will be closed.

It was only in early February when the Dow surged past the 20,000 points mark for the second time this year, and since then it has stacked on more than 600 points, an incredible two week rally.

European markets were mixed with the FTSE 100 up 0.3%, the DAX flat and the Paris CAC 40 down 0.6%.

The big news surrounding European markets was Kraft Heinz’s tilt at Unilever plc, a merger proposal that was declined, but could well be backed up by an even better offer.

On the commodities front, there was little movement in the oil price as it remains range bound between US$53 per barrel and US$54 per barrel.

Gold came off approximately 0.5%, closing at US$1236 per ounce.

Iron ore was relatively unchanged, staying just a tick above the US$90 per tonne mark.

All base metals finished in negative territory, but most of the declines were nominal. Nickel remains close to US$5.00 per pound, seemingly consolidating after increasing nearly 20% in less than a month.

While zinc’s retracement over the last week was more significant, at US$1.27 per pound, its year-on-year gain is circa 45%.

Similar comparisons can be made with lead which has tracked lower in line with zinc, but still remains 30% above February 2016 levels.

After a substantial spike a week ago from US$2.63 per pound to US$2.76 per pound, copper’s recent retracement saw it close the week at US$2.69 per pound, nearly 30% above February 2016 levels.

Though this demonstrates the positive long-term picture, with gold also coming off it would appear that mining stocks may come under pressure on Monday.

The Australian dollar is hovering in the vicinity of US$0.766.

There are some big names delivering their interim results today including BlueScope Steel and Brambles.

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