Equities surged forward today as solid earnings reports from a number of key firms helped to boost sentiment. Phillip Morris International rose by nearly 5% on a solid outlook while Union Pacific gained a similar amount on price increases as well. To top things off, Morgan Stanley showed a robust increase in trading revenues which helped to carry the financial sector higher overall and sent MS soaring by over 11%. Also helping markets in their 1%+ gains were actions to help Greece through yet another round of its debt crisis. While not all information has been released, initial reports from Brussels suggest that Greece will receive a bailout valued at 109 billion euro, alleviating fears that the nation would default altogether. Commodities saw an interesting day as well, as crude oil is again flirting with the $100 per barrel mark while other products took a hit during the trading session [see also Gas Prices Around The Globe: Explaining The Discrepancy].
One of the biggest commodity winners of the day was sugar, which saw healthy gains due to an increase in demand from India. In light of upcoming festivals, this emerging nation has stepped up its planned purchases of the sweet commodity, driving prices up as investors try to cash in on the robust consumption that this market exhibits. India is also the second-largest producer of sugar cane, nearly tripling the output of its neighbor China, suggesting that any exports from the nation could be diminished over the next few weeks as well. Overall on the day, sugar futures soared 3.2% as the high demand pushed prices close to the 30 cents a pound level [see also Ultimate Guide To Sugar Investing].
One of the biggest commodity losers of the day was natural gas, which saw a number of factors come together to send futures contracts of this key commodity lower in the session. First, the weekly EIA storage report showed that natural gas supplies fell, but only slightly below estimates, causing many traders to worry that the excessive heat hasn’t spurred more power demand. Second, traders looking to make a play on the hot weather usually trade between six and 10 days ahead of the weather, and though much of the Midwest may still be stuck in a dismal heatwave, many traders have moved out of positions, as weather patterns in the coming days are expected to cool off and curtail demand for this popular fossil fuel. All in all, natural gas futures dipped 2.4% amid high supplies and investor sell-offs, pushing near month contracts to below the $4.4 level [see also The Ultimate Guide To Natural Gas Investing].
Disclosure: Charts courtesy of Barchart. No positions at time of writing.