US stocks fluctuated, while tech gains sent Nasdaq Composite to reach record highs, other key indices were moderately lower. US initial jobless claims eased by 19,000 in the week ending February 6th, while claims for federal benefits continued to grow, highlighting the still-present challenges in the labour market. Meanwhile, US home prices post record gains, climbing by 14.9% in Q4, driven by low borrowing cost and working-from-home environment, providing the flexibility for residency. The Fed chair Jerome Powell said that the US job market is still a long way from a full recovery and more action is needed to support workers. The dollar strengthened, and the 10yr US Treasury yield picked up higher to 1.1482%. Several Asian markets have closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.
LME metals have been mixed, with copper, nickel and tin lower on the day. Aluminium prices firmed, testing the resistance at $2,083/t to close at $2,079.50/t, the cash to 3-month spread has tightened once again to -$3.00/t. Zinc gained the most ground, testing the key resistance level of $2,795/t to close at 2,789.50/t. Nickel was bid below $18,700/t and closed lower at $18,620/t. Copper traded lower to the $8,250/t support level, easing off the 8-year highs seen yesterday, and closed at $8,280.50/t. Lead was stronger today, closing at $2,102.50/t.
Oil edged lower, alongside equities, ending on the longest runs in a couple of years. At the time of writing, WTI and Brent trade at $58.34/bl and $61.24/bl. Precious metals were mixed on the back of moderate US labour recovery, with gold and silver down on the day to $1,827.07/oz and $26.99/oz respectively.