Stocks closed out the week with a small gain as the Dow rose 65 points to close at 17,500. Trading volume was lower on the Dow but higher on the NASDAQ. For the week the Dow lost about 25 basis points and is back to break even for the year.
China is not happy. The US Dept. of Commerce this week slapped Chinese steel exporters with a combined tariff of 522% on cold rolled steel imported to the US. The breakdown includes a 266% anti-dumping duty and a 256% anti-subsidy duty. China exports half of the world’s steel and is facing a massive overproduction glut as inefficient plants try to survive by selling at rock bottom prices. US steel makers have been complaining to trade authorities and the Commerce Dept. finally took action. Several European countries are looking at this issue as well which could spark a trade war if they follow the US’s lead and if China retaliates.
WTI crude finished the trading week about 4% higher as brimming stockpile figures were overcome by “unscheduled production cuts” in Nigeria and Canada. According to Dominick Chirichella, a particularly fine “fella” with the Energy Management Institute, overall oil market sentiment remains bullish as the unscheduled production cuts are simply speeding up a rebalancing pattern that was already in place. For the day, WTI crude today closed off about 0.8% to $47.67 a barrel. The steady rise in oil has also boosted share prices within the US pipeline industry.
Gold had its biggest weekly drop in two months thanks to growing speculation that Janet Yellen and company will increase interest rates next month. Gold finished the day down one dollar at $1,253 an ounce.