Polar vortexes and heavy snow are two of the most defining characteristics of the 2013-2014 winter season in the U.S. Bitter cold and harsh weather conditions have taken their toll on parts of the economy, especially when it comes to employment figures. However, when it comes to natural gas prices, the cold weather has propelled the fossil fuel higher, as incessant demand has sent NG on a tear to open up the year [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Earlier this week, President Obama unveiled his budget proposal for the year beginning Oct. 1. The proposed 2015 budget totals $3.9 trillion, including certain tax increases, as well as budget cuts and increases across nearly all departments. A closer look at the breakdown of Obama’s budget reveals several key factors commodity traders and investors should be aware of – particularly for the energy and agriculture industries [for more commodity 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].
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].
As we enter the latter part of earnings season, investors have already gotten a taste of how the final three months of 2013 fared for the Street. Thus far, it seems that there have been more earnings misses or disappointing guidance given than major wins or rosy outlooks. This week will keep energy firms in the spotlight with a few key European-based firms reporting, as well as one major agribusiness entity [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]:
In recent years, investors have witnessed the U.S. become a dominant force in the crude oil space, thanks in part to a development in technologies like fracking as well as more pipelines distributing the energy resource around the nation. Outside of the country, however, oil giants have struggled to match the U.S.’s fast growth, forcing these companies to new oil “frontiers” [for more energy news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Much to the bears’ frustration, major U.S. equity indexes are refusing to make way for profit taking pressures even as earnings season continues full steam ahead. The S&P 500 Index continues to inch further into uncharted territory, although over the past two weeks it has failed to continue its impressive streak of posting new highs, leading many to speculate about what headwinds could spark the next steep correction on Wall Street [for more commodity futures news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].