The Commodities Channel

Weekly Heating Oil Prices Flat

With some forecasts predicting a very cold and bitter winter ahead, we present our seasonal heating oil update. The latest price of home heating oil nationwide is $2.65, up less than a penny from last week and up 34 cents per gallon since the start of the season.

Center Stage…

While politics and the new government's agenda is still very much in the news, investor interest last week shifted to the bigger picture.

Chicago Fed: Economic Growth Decreased in January

"Index shows economic growth decreased in January." This is the headline for today's release of the Chicago Fed's National Activity Index, and here is an excerpt from opening summary: "Three of the four broad categories of indicators that make up the index decreased from December, and two of the four categories made negative contributions to the index in January."

We Are Growing Less Positive (But Not Negative) Toward Equities

Equity markets have increased since the U.S. elections for two principal reasons: optimism over a pro-growth legislative agenda from Donald Trump and improving U.S. and global economic and earnings growth.

Weighing the Week Ahead: Will Trump Policies Extend the Business Cycle?

We have another holiday-shortened week with little fresh data. While there are some Fed speakers on tap, it is not enough to feed the avaricious punditry.

Weekly Gasoline Price Update: Regular and Premium Flat

It's time again for our weekly gasoline update based on data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The price of Regular and Premium are unchanged from last week. According to, Hawaii has the highest average price for Regular at $3.10 and San Francisco is the most expensive city, averaging $3.01. South Carolina has the cheapest at $2.02. The WTIC end of day spot price closed at 54.33, up 1.40 from this time last week.

The Big Four Economic Indicators: January Real Retail Sales

Note: With the release last week of January Retail Sales and the Consumer Price Index, we've updated this commentary to include the latest Real Retail Sales. Month-over-month nominal sales in January rose by 0.4% (0.36% to two decimals). Real Retail Sales, calculated with the seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index, declined 0.2% (0.19% to two decimals). The chart gives us a close look at the monthly data points in this series since the end of the last recession in mid-2009. The linear regression helps us identify variance from the trend.

How Emotional Intelligence Can Make You a Better Investor

Investors enjoy the unique luxury of choosing problems that let them maximize the use of not just their IQ but also their EQ – emotional intelligence.

Gold Gets a Shot in the Arm from Inflation and China

Inflation just got another jolt, rising as much as 2.5 percent year-over-year in January, the highest such rate since March 2012. Led by higher gasoline, rent and health care costs, consumer prices have now advanced for the sixth straight month. In addition, January is the second straight month for rates to be above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent.

Tax Reform: The Good, the Bad, and the Really Ugly—Part Three

Today we come to part 3 of my tax reform series. So far, we’ve introduced the challenge and begun to describe the main proposed GOP solution. Today we’ll look at the new and widely misunderstood “border adjustment” idea and talk about both its good and bad points

S&P 500 Snapshot: Yet Another Record Close

On Friday, the S&P opened lower than Thursdays' close and was fairly flat until late in the day with a rise a couple of hours before close. The index reached its intraday high at close and ended the day with a gain of 0.17%. Week over week, the index saw a gain of 1.51% ending Friday with another record close.

Why Value Is Still a Value

The rally in value stocks may have stalled, but Russ discusses why the trend still has further to go.

Big Winners in the Neglected Frontier Universe

Frontier markets were mixed in 2016, with most of the Middle East and Africa lagging the rest of the universe and a few mar­kets surging ahead 30-40% on the year.

Russia: Stagnant Stability

A recent trip to Moscow on the 100th anniversary of the 1917 revolution revealed not a whiff of revolutionary change in the economy, but rather stagnant growth mixed with structural stability. We could simply call it “stagnant stability.”

ECRI Weekly Leading Index: Down Slightly from Last Week

Today's release of the publicly available data from ECRI puts its Weekly Leading Index (WLI) at 144.5, down 1.0 from the previous week. It is currently just below its all-time high. Year-over-year the four-week moving average of the indicator is now at 12.17%, up from 11.88% the previous week, and at an interim high. The WLI Growth indicator is now at 11.1, down slightly from the previous week.