Today In Commodities: Crude Closes Up After 7 Down Sessions

by: Matthew Bradbard

Energy: Only a 0.27% gain, but a small victory with crude oil closing positive for the first time in seven sessions. Those looking to build a position could start nibbling on longs, in my opinion. I advised some clients to scale into long futures in April, and to sell out of the money calls 1:1. This is advised only if looking to build a position, as we are catching a falling knife. At this point, I cannot rule out a trade under the recent lows. Heating oil was higher by 1.06%, as we are finding support at the 50 day MA. If $2.90 holds in January the next few sessions, I'd be willing to start exploring longs with clients… stay tuned. RBOB futures are holding firm at $2.60 but until we trade over the 8 day MA, just above current levels, stand aside. Natural gas was a loser today, trading 1.39% lower, as we are now within 20 cents of the lows made in the fall. Longs are on my radar, but I've yet to act with fresh entries. Some of my hesitancy is how ugly the longer term charts are. A 50% correction on the move we have seen in 2012 puts front month prices back under $3, so let's be patient.

Stock Indices: The S&P gained 0.79% today, penetrating the down sloping trend line mentioned in previous posts. Is this a false breakout, or will I need to cut losses on client's open bearish trades? Stay tuned. Prices did fail at almost these exact same prices five weeks ago, though we all know past performance is not indicative of futures results. Movement from here should be determined by the FOMC tomorrow. The Dow closed higher by 0.69%, lifting prices to seven week highs. Are we overbought? Yes, and my stance is we trade south. To me, this will be a case of buy the rumor, sell the fact. My timing on bearish trade to date has been horrendous, but those willing to take a little heat will be handsomely rewarded in the weeks to come, in my opinion.

Metals: Gold futures were a small loser today, but prices did hold the 100 day MA -- in February at $1707. From my standpoint, $1720 is resistance, while support is eyed at $1700. I still think $1670 is an achievable objective, but I may change my mind at 2:16 tomorrow… stay tuned. Silver closed in the red just better than 1% at its 50 day MA, giving back the previous two days' gains. On a leg lower ,my target under the most recent low is $32.25, and if shorts are lucky, we could see a trade to the 100 day MA -- currently at $32/ounce. Some of my clients remain in their bearish back ratio spreads into tomorrow's meeting. We will see tomorrow if that was the proper call.

Softs: Five out of the last six sessions, cocoa prices have traded down, though it appears we are starting to find a value zone as prices are nearing oversold levels. Trail stops if still in bearish trade. The same levels that supported in sugar in early November held today, with sugar paring losses, closing higher by 0.64% after the latest route. Some clients remain in their March bull call spreads that are down approximately 50%. I may leg out or buy futures for those clients once it looks like we can bounce… stay tuned. Cotton gained 2.04%, lifting prices to seven week highs, just under 75 cents. I am still waiting for lower trade, and would not be willing to be a buyer until we get a reduction in pricing. OJ broke out to the upside on today's USDA report, as all bearish trades should have taken a loss on the 3.63% appreciation. Coffee has a lot of work to do and today is a small consolation, but the 1.70% gain was delightful as I figured after yesterday's action, we were headed for new contract lows. Traders that have their top leg should be targeting a 5% move north to salvage this trade. I still think we could see that level in the coming weeks. My suggestion is put gtc orders out if we see a close over the 20 day MA -- currently at $1.5170 in March.

Treasuries: 30-year bonds lost nearly 0.50%, and now the 9 and 20 day MAs, which had previously served as support should be resistance. Aggressive traders could have light bearish exposure, though I'd prefer to wait for the Fed and if the risk off trade plays out, March is back near 151'00 in my opinion, so be careful. 10-year notes also closed lower, finishing under its MAs as well. A lower risk trade if stops are placed just above the recent highs. Traders could probe bearish plays, though as I said, on bonds I'll wait till after the meeting. Remember, stops can be violated on a market gapping higher or lower, so leave some wiggle room.

Livestock: Live cattle got back two weeks of losses today, higher by 1.29%. Prices have quickly traded back to previous resistance that has capped rallies the last four months. I do not see prices continuing their ascent, though I did not see this, so factor that in. Clients have no exposure currently. Even more impressive was the gain in feeder cattle, higher by 1.54% in January, lifting prices to five month highs. Prices are overbought and I do not see this continuing. Exit all remaining bearish trade in lean hogs. It appears we could rebound from current levels. I am not interested in being long. Just exit shorts is my call.

Grains: A neutral report on corn, and the market reacted accordingly with a slight loss. We should find buying around current levels, all things considered. I will be shopping fresh bullish entries and also managing my clients' current bullish option trades in March. In the coming week, I think prices can at least get back to their November highs. Soybeans also held their own on a neutral report, as prices wandered between their 9 and 50 day MAs. I'd be willing to buy a dip as long as the 20 day MA supports -- in January at $14.40, I'm friendly. A bearish report on wheat, as prices closed lower by 3.21%, near five month lows. If $8/bushel gives way, do not rule out $7.50. Do not buy, and those that tested the waters into the report should have taken losses.

Currencies: With the last two days of losses, the U.S. dollar is back under its 50 day MA. This is a bearish development, but let's see if we get confirmation with lower trade off the FOMC meeting tomorrow. If the dollar continues south, which is not my call, aggressive traders could buy the euro and swissie with stops under their respective 20 day MAs. Bearish trade in the commodity crosses is on my radar, but I will not pick a top as I am waiting for signs of an interim top… stay tuned. Today's chart of the day is the yen. I believe a base is forming for a move higher... read report for specifics.

Risk Disclaimer: The opinions contained herein are for general information only and not tailored to any specific investor's needs or investment goals. Any opinions expressed in this article are as of the date indicated. Trading futures, options, and Forex involves substantial risk of loss and is not suitable for all investors. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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