US stocks edged higher today, with the S&P rising to beat record highs once again, despite disappointing economic data. US jobless claims rose by 23,000 in the week ending December 12, jumping to a level not seen in the three months. At the same time, US housing starts rose for the third straight month in November, the highest level since 2007. The dollar softened and 10yr US Treasuries yield strengthened up to 0.9312%. European shares were higher after the bloc stated it will release the vaccine this month. Moreover, EU lawmakers approved the $2.2tr stimulus package as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
Metals markets were mostly higher today with only lead down on the day. Aluminium struggled to gain a footing in the first half of the day, but closed higher on the day at $2,053/t. Copper prices gained the most, with the market testing $7,950/t to close at $7,920/t; the spread continued to tighten and settled at -$21.00/t. Nickel was stronger today and failed above $17,650/t, leading to a close at $17,517/t. Lead was range-bound and closed lower on the day at $2,040.50/t.
Oil futures held gains, supported by a surprise decline in US inventories. At the time of writing, WTI and Brent trade at $48.21/bl and $51.39/bl. Precious metals were all higher today, with gold and silver edging up to $1,887.56/oz and $25.90/oz respectively.