On Wall Street, the agriculture business has long been a popular place for commodity trading. After all, it was with agricultural futures that commodity trading got its start, when farmers originally used futures contracts to offset losses in crop yields. Over the years, the agriculture space has rapidly developed, offering investors various options to cash in on the industry [for more agricultural news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
2013′s fourth quarter earnings season saw companies across all sectors reporting both hits and misses. Alcoa set the tone for the commodity space, reporting a fourth quarter net loss of $2.3 billion and missed analysts’ EPS estimates. While other commodity stocks also managed to post better-than-expected results, some showed signs of weakness from 2013′s commodity slump. Overall, most companies managed to post better-than-expected earnings during the fourth quarter as compared to the third [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Major equity indexes have managed to claw their way back up to where they were prior to the broad-based correction seen on Wall Street at the end of last month. In fact, the NASDAQ-100 has even managed to post fresh highs, whereas the Dow Jones Industrial Average still has room to run before it hits previous resistance levels. Amid the bullish price action, however, economic data remains suppressed by the harsh weather conditions at home, which have dragged on retail sales as well as the labor market recovery [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Major U.S. equity indexes have managed to snap the losing streak that plagued markets since the New Year and February is off to a very green start. Upbeat corporate earnings have helped fuel the rebound on Wall Street while a relatively quiet political front has also helped to bring back certainty. Last month’s employment report was a mixed bag, and although investors reacted positively in light of “oversold” conditions at the time, the next labor market data release will likely be scrutinized more heavily as investors look for clues surrounding the Fed’s next move [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Last week saw a major breakthrough for the Keystone XL Pipeline, as an analysis determined that the project would not have a significant impact on Canadian oil sands. By virtue, many are taking that statement as indirectly suggesting that the project would not have a major environmental impact as well. The potential environmental backlash has long stood in the way of this project’s completion, as many feel that the State Department has still failed to take into account the potential impact [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
In the commodity space, Brazil is one of the major players in global agricultural production. Roughly 20% of the Brazilian workforce is engaged in agriculture, and more than a quarter of the country’s export earnings come from agricultural exports. Because of its dominance in the market, however, any shift in local crop conditions and climate can have significant impact on agricultural prices [for more agriculture news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The bears finally got their way in 2014. Rampant selling pressures have rattled investors’ confidence on Wall Street amid sluggish data releases on both sides of the Atlantic, coupled with fiscal and political instability in emerging markets, which has raised worries over the possibility of contagion. With earnings season still well underway at home, major equity indexes have paved a rocky start to 2014, prompting bearish pundits to cite the coveted January barometer as an omen of more downside to come [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].