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Analysis and news focused specifically on the commodities, by geologists and commodities analysts and traders. I believe that commodities make the best investments, regardless of the macro economic picture, they key is not whether or not to invest in the commodities, but instead what commodities... More
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    Oil futures were volatile this week - but in the end finished basically unchanged. This range bound performance follows seven consecutive weekly gains.

    On Friday, futures got a modest boost on the expectation that demand for energy products would improve thanks to a better-than-expected non-farm payrolls reading. The resurrection of tensions between Russia and Ukraine contributed to the upside.

    US crude futures for April delivery rose 1% on Friday to settle at $102.58 a barrel on the NYMEX. Futures started the week off just one penny higher, at $102.59 a barrel.

    This modest weekly performance masks what was a fairly volatile week. On Monday, oil futures were propelled to their highest price point in approximately five-months after Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend obtained parliament's approval to take military action against Ukraine. With Russia a major oil supplier, concerns that the dispute between the two countries would lead to a war sparked some supply side support for the commodity. This sent US crude above$104 a barrel.

    As the week went on these tensions eased, as Russian troops performed military exercises in the Crimean peninsula, and then returned to base without incident. On Wednesday, the reduced tensions combined with disappointing U.S. economic data and the latest domestic oil supply data to send futures down 1.8% to $101.45 a barrel.

    The latest U.S. Energy Information Administration supplies data showed crude stockpiles rose 1.4 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 28, basically in line with analyst estimates.

    Economic data released Friday showed U.S. non-farm payrolls rose by 175,000 in February, well above the 149,000 reading analysts were expecting.

    Meanwhile, concerns over Ukraine increased again after Crimea's Moscow-backed parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and scheduled a referendum on the split for March 16. In addition, Russian leaders critiqued western leaders' decisions to start sanctions against the country. On Thursday, Obama announced the US's first sanctions against the country since the start of the crisis.

    Given the current geopolitical climate, and of course pending a complete resolution - which is not likely right now, we are bullish on US crude, over the short term. Investors should be cautious; however, with spring approaching seasonality is a factor to consider in oil prices and we could see some downside pressure as temperatures rise, reducing what has been an overall supportive factor for the energy markets these past months.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Mar 07 4:16 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Bank Earnings Could Be Disastrous For Gold: Pre-Market Commodities Commentary Jan 13th

    Investors this week will direct their attention to the latest earnings from the major banks, with earnings on tap from 17 financial sector companies. Analysts expect the companies will report the best earnings growth in Q4, with FactSet pointing toward earnings growth in Q4 as a whole of 6.1%, with the financial sector contributing nearly half of this growth, 3% to be exact.

    Gold is slightly lower in the pre-market session, but has upside bias this morning continuing its positive momentum from last Friday when a disappointing jobs report pushed the commodity into the green for the week.

    Strong earnings from the banks could mean another correction for gold, with investors looking at these earnings as another "indicator" that the U.S. economy is improving. While we expect these earnings to play into gold prices, with all sectors in the economy particularly vulnerable to the sector's result thanks to the huge portion of growth the financial stocks are currently accounting for, thanks to the positive sentiment already baked in, the earnings will really have to blow past expectations to put considerable downside pressure on gold.

    Meanwhile, other key economic data pieces to be reported later this week including: December retail sales, reports on inflation, inventories, manufacturing and an update in consumer sentiment. The Fed will also release its Beige Book.

    The retail sales would typically be the most important piece of data for gold investors, but December's report is expected to be distorted by the auto sector. We are therefore, very interested in the inflation reading - which has been the "elephant in the room" in terms of gold recently.

    The behavior of inflation has puzzled analysts and the Fed, with officials noting last month that they expect inflation would approach 2%, but even though multiple economic data points supported a strengthening U.S. economy, the weak reading on inflation certainly does not. On Friday James Bullard commented that "There is no generally accepted explanation for low inflation readings," but in the same statement he said that he expects inflation to increase this year. But, this does not stop concerns that the U.S. economy is weaker than expected, and the Fed even admitted this in its recently released minutes.

    Gold is finding support just above $1245 per ounce this morning, and meeting resistance just above $1246 per ounce. Gold is very close to its key resistance level of $1,250 per ounce, and if that price is crossed this week we could see gold embark on another short term rally A few things could push gold above that point, particularly more evidence that the U.S. economy is weaker than many, including the fed, thought late last year. The bank earnings also have to at least match the high expectations to send gold lower, a miss would be a sign that the economy is weaker than expected and we could see gold tick higher. For the bank earnings; however, to result in substantially lower movement in gold, the earnings would have to blow past expectations.

    Another factor that could push gold above its resistance point is more evidence that physical demand is rebounding, which is a possibility given the approach of the Lunar New Year, ahead of which gold demand typically experiences an increase.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Jan 13 9:21 AM | Link | Comment!
  • Commodities Calendar: Economic Data And Resource Companies Earnings For Feb. 25- Mar. 1

    The big market news maker this week for the commodities space and beyond will be Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's semiannual monetary-policy testimony to Congress this Tuesday and Wednesday. We will be awaiting more cues into the potential unraveling of the latest stimulus as well as suggestions into how effective the Central Bank's moves have been at improving economic and jobs growth. Commodities prices, particularly safe-haven gold and economically sensitive oil and copper will likely show some reaction. The other precious metals will likely also see some enhanced buying or selling action.

    Earnings continue to stream in. This morning Thompson Creek Metals (NYSE:TC) disappointed investors with their latest results, shares are crashing in the aftermath. FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE:FE) also released lower-than-forecast results.

    Other earnings highlights for this week in terms of commodities related companies include: Gulfport Energy (NYSE:GPOR) scheduled to report on Tuesday, the company recently proposed the acquisition of additional Utica Shale acreage; MarkWest Energy Partners (NYSE:MWE), Stillwater Mining Company (NYSE:SWC), Western Gas Partners (NYSE:WES), and Whiting Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:WLL) on Wednesday.

    On Thursday earnings highlights include: Kodiak Oil& Gas (NYSE:KOG), Molycorp (NYSE:MCP), SandRidge Energy (NYSE:SD), Seadrill Ltd. (NYSE: SDRL), Westar Energy Inc. (NYSE:WR); and on Friday Crosstex Energy (NASDAQ:XTEX).

    Economic data on tap for this week of particular interest to commodities investors include: on Tuesday - Case-Shiller 20-City Index; FHFA Housing Price Index; New Home Sales; Consumer Confidence. Wednesday - the MBA Mortgage Index; Durable Orders; Pending Home Sales; and Crude Inventories scheduled for release on Tuesday. For Thursday, Initial Jobless Claims, US GDP, Natural Gas Inventories. And finally, for Friday, Personal Income and Spending, PCE Prices, ISM Index; Construction Spending, auto and truck sales.

    Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

    Feb 25 3:42 PM | Link | Comment!
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