The 4% mark was finally broken; the April U.S. employment report showed an addition of 164,000 new jobs, bringing unemployment to an 18 year low of 3.9%. Amidst an increasingly tight labor market, wage growth remained slow, up 4 cents in April and 2.6% since this time last year. As investors and Fed officials continue to eye inflation, stocks rallied on Friday after posting losses through Thursday. Despite Friday’s gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both feel 0.2% on the week, while the NASDAQ climbed 1.3%.
As President Trump’s decision regarding the Iran nuclear deal loomed, crude oil prices continued to climb last week approaching the $70/bbl level. Iran is one of the world’s top 5 largest oil producers, meaning that policy decisions could have broad impacts on the oil market. The dollar continued its upward momentum for the 3rd straight week, while gold June futures posted 0.66% loss on the week. Lumber again posted a new record high this year, climbing 3.33% through May 4th.
The Gap Narrows:
Paul Skarp held on to first place on every trade day this week, extending his streak to 53 days straight atop the leaderboard: however, on Thursday, May 3rd that lead shrunk to its smallest margin all year. Second place trader Jan Smolen, who has maintained that position since April 12th , closed Thursday at a 173.2% net return, just 0.3% behind Skarp’s 173.5%. Skarp made gains before the week ended, extending his lead to 25.8%. While no longer razor thin, the gap has closed significantly as the traders continue to battle.
A Constant Shuffle for Position:
Third place was retained by 2016 WCTC Futures Champion Artur Teregulov, who burst into the top 5 on April 26th , and has since climbed to a net return of 67.21% by market close on Friday. He is no stranger to the WCTC, and the veteran will be eyeing the two newer competitors as he chases his second title in 3 years. Allen Swiontek held on to 4th place, remaining in striking distance of Skarp and Smolen. Fifth place, however, has been a point of contention over the last 2 weeks. From April 23rd through May 3rd , Jonathan Brum da Silva and Graeme Adams continued to wrestle back and forth, with Adams securing the spot to close 6 trading days, while Silva took over for 5.
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