Markets overcame some headwinds today and finished the day flat. Oil fell over 2% and the dollar rose against the Yen and Euro. Nonetheless, stocks managed to fend of losses as investors continue to buy any red on the tape. Investors piled into risky assets as the Nasdaq jumped almost 0.5% and the Russell 2,000 jumped over 1% on the day. This was widely reflected in the VIX which finished the day down 3.6%. All in all, it was actually a fairly bullish day for stocks considering the large losses in oil and the rising dollar. On the downside, volume was light again and breadth was only moderately positive. Daily Futures has the action from all markets:
ADP Employer Services said that there was a loss of 169,000 private jobs in November, down from a decline of 195,000 jobs in October. The U.S. Labor Department will release its unemployment report on Friday morning.
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book said that “economic conditions have generally improved modestly since the last report” and noted that even “home sales and construction activity improved across much of the nation.” The March 2011 eurodollars finished down .06 at 98.49.
Grains and Cotton
January soybeans closed down 25.5 cents at $10.34, blamed on profit-taking ahead of tomorrow’s weekly export sales report.
March wheat ended down 8 cents at $5.76 with no strength from corn or soybeans to hold prices up.
March sugar closed up .38 at 23.04, the highest close in over a week, with ongoing support from tight world supplies.
According to Dow Jones Newswires, the weather conditions for Brazil’s citrus crop has been “generally favorable” while the trees are in their flowering stage. January orange juice ended up a penny at $1.2130.
The Florida Citrus Department said that U.S. retail sales of orange juice in October were up 6.4% from a year ago.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said that crude oil supplies were up 2.1 million barrels last week to 339.9 million barrels and 500,000 barrels were added to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Supplies of gasoline were up 4.0 million barrels and heating oil supplies were down 300,000 barrels. January crude oil fell $1.77 to $76.60, pressured by today’s big increase in gasoline supplies.
The DOE also said that refinery use fell from 80.3% to 79.7% last week. Over the past four weeks, gasoline demand was up .7% from a year ago while distillate demand was down 7.7% from a year ago.
ConocoPhillips said that their capital expenditures will total $11.2 billion in 2010, down from $20.3 billion in 2008.
January natural gas closed down 23.2 cents at a new contract low of $4.53 ahead of tomorrow’s weekly U.S. inventory report.
February gold closed up $12.80 at another new record high of $1,213.00.
March copper closed up 2.75 cents at $3.2585, the highest close in 15 months, still helped by yesterday’s strong manufacturing report from China.
The March Japanese yen dropped .0104 to 1.1436 after Japan’s Prime Minister Hatoyama told a newspaper that the currency cannot be allowed to remain so high.