The WTI crude spot price tumbled 9.08% for the week, closing at $48.49 per barrel on Friday, while the Brent crude spot price plunged 6.87% for the week to close at $51.28 per barrel, after the WTI crude price broke down through the key 50-day SMA on Wednesday, triggering a cascade sell-off. Speculative long positions in WTI crude oil futures contracts held by money managers totaled 418,346 contracts as of March 7, 2017, a decline of 10,822 contracts, according to data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC. Traders and analysts blamed the sell-off on the EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report, showing the inventory at a record level for the fourth-straight week.
The EIA weekly U.S. oil inventory report on Wednesday showed that domestic crude supplies increased by another 8.21 million barrels to an all-time high of 528.39 million barrels, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, in the week ending March 3, compared to the S&P Global Platts forecast for a stockpile increase of 1.6 million barrels. The American Petroleum Institute, or API, inventory data on Tuesday showed a U.S. crude inventory increase of 11.6 million barrels.
Separately, the EIA said the weekly U.S. crude oil production increased 56,000 barrels per day, or bpd, for the week ending March 3, to 9.088 million bpd. U.S. crude oil output increased 28,000 bpd to an average of 9.025 million bpd in March, compared to a February average of 8.997 million bpd. Output has fallen about 6% from the peak level of 9.60 million bpd in June 2015. Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. said on Friday that the U.S. oil rig count rose another 8 to 617, compared to 316, when the rig count hit the low on June 6, 2016.
S&P 500 Summary: +5.97% YTD as of 03/10/17
Barclay Hedge Fund Index: +2.41% YTD
Outperforming Sectors: Information technology +11.09 YTD, Healthcare +9.97% YTD, Consumer discretionary +6.48% YTD, Financials +6.28% YTD, and Consumer staples +6.18% YTD.
Underperforming Sectors: Industrials +4.76% YTD, Materials +4.55% YTD, Utilities +4.12% YTD, Real Estate –0.48% YTD, Telecommunication services –3.65% YTD, and Energy –8.00%