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Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Crude, Gold End Week in Positive Territory as Optimism for Upcoming US-China Trade Talks Grows

(MT Newswires) – Crude prices dropped in the fourth quarter of 2018 amid worries over growing production and waning global demand, but the key commodity finished Friday higher amid broader gains in US stock markets. Hopes of a trade truce between the US and China and output cuts put into place by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) infused much-needed confidence into the commodities market. Representatives from the world’s two largest economies are expected to hold trade talks in Beijing next week, according to news reports. This comes after tense relations between the two countries in recent months following the imposition of hefty levies on imported goods by both nations. Global oil output was lower meanwhile after ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries decided in early December to adjust overall production by 1.2 million barrels per day effective from January 2019 for an initial period of six months. The decision came in view of a growing imbalance between global oil supply and demand. Meanwhile, the latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US stockpiles of commercial crude came in at about 441.42 million barrels in the week ending Dec. 28, compared with 441.41 million barrels the week earlier. This compares with the American Petroleum Institute’s report that US crude oil stocks fell 4.5 million barrels last week to 443.7 million barrels, versus an expected dip of 3.1 million barrels. Finally, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US dropped by eight to 877 in the seven-day period ending Jan. 4. The combined oil and gas rig count in the US also fell by eight to 1,075 as gas rigs were flat at 198.

Light, sweet crude oil for February delivery jumped 6.78% for the week, settling at $47.96 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline rose during the week, up 4.80% and settling at $1.35 per gallon on Friday. Natural gas, however, sank 8.49% this week at $2.91 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 0.44% higher this week, compared with a decline of 0.20% in the previous week.

Gold closed the Friday session in the red, settling at $1,285.80, but logged modest gains to end the week 0.24% higher, as optimism returned to stocks ahead of the scheduled US and China trade talks. China’s commerce ministry said that China and the US would hold vice ministerial-level trade talks in Beijing on Jan 7-8 in a bid to defuse trade tensions. Additionally, a strong labor market report coupled with remarks from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell eased Wall Street’s fears of the Fed hiking rates into a recession. Powell assured investors that the Fed listens to Wall Street and would adjust balance-sheet normalization if needed. Meanwhile, the US Labor Department reported 312,000 new jobs in December, versus forecasts for an increase of 182,000. The number also brings the total employment gains for the year 2018 to 2.64 million — a three-year high. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% from the previous rate of 3.7% — due mainly to the number of people who joined the workforce in search of jobs. On the other hand, copper ended Friday’s session up at $2.65 per pound, with much of the gains sparked by upbeat data on China’s services sector. The Caixin China Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index data –  which covers both manufacturing and services –  showed a further rise in overall Chinese business activity during December. The rate of expansion picked up from November, with the Composite Output Index rising from 51.9 to a five-month high of 52.2. Readings above 50 signal expansion while those below indicate contraction. Services companies in China registered a solid rate of activity growth, while manufacturing output expanded slightly after two months of stagnation. For the week, however, the red metal fell 1.31%, as doubts over China’s weakening economy in 2019 persisted, with Citigroup citing mixed economic data and a slowdown in household consumption.

Agriculture commodities ended the week mixed, with grains among the gainers: wheat rose 0.93% and settled at $5.17 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; corn was up 2.07% in the week and settled at $3.83 per bushel in Friday’s session; and soybeans rose 2.99% for the week, closing at $9.22 per bushel on Friday. Wheat was higher on expectations of strong demand for US supplies, while soybeans were up as adverse weather in Brazil and Argentina threatened to affect the supply of soybeans from those countries. Meanwhile, other commodities such as sugar had a weekly decline of 3.71% and settled at a price of $0.12 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $1.02 per pound at Friday’s close, up 0.54% for the week; and cocoa fell 2.33% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,361 per tonne.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was 0.25% higher for the week, compared with the 0.91% decrease in the prior week.

 

Copyright © 2019 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

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Sanofi to Pay Regeneron $462 Million as Part of 2015 Collaboration Restructuring

7:59 AM, Jan 7, 2019 — Sanofi (SNY) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN) have restructured their deal on global immuno-ongology discovery and development agreement to develop new cancer treatments that was set to end in 2020.

The companies said in a statement on Monday that they’ve updated the deal that was originally signed in 2015 to extend collaborative efforts on two clinical-stage bi-specific antibody programs.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Sanofi will pay Regeneron $462 million, the balance of payments due under the original contract, which covers Sanofi’s share of the discovery program costs for the last quarter of 2018 and up to $120 million in development costs for antibody programs, plus a termination fee.

Sanofi has the right to opt-in to the BCMAxCD3 and MUC16xCD3 bispecific programs when proof of concept is achieved or when the allocated funding is expended, and Regeneron will commit as much as $70 million to further develop the BCMAxCD3 bispecific antibody for multiple myeloma and up to $50 million to further develop the MUC16xCD3 bispecific for mucin-16 expressing cancers, the companies said.

“This provides Sanofi increased flexibility to advance its early-stage immuno-oncology pipeline independently while Regeneron retains all rights to its other immuno-oncology discovery and development programs,” the companies said.

Sanofi shares fell 1% in pre-bell trading while Regeneron jumped almost 7%.

After opt-in, Sanofi will lead development and commercialization of the BCMAxCD3 bispecific and fund 100% of development costs. Regeneron will reimburse up to 50% from its share of collaboration profits. The companies will share profits equally.

Regeneron will lead development and commercialization of the MUC16xCD3 bispecific in the US. The companies will share development costs and global profits equally. Sanofi will lead commercialization outside the US.

Ongoing collaboration between the companies on Libtayo will be unaffected by the amended agreement, according to the statement. Regeneron retains full rights to its other immuno-oncology programs.

Companies: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Price: 397.55 Price Change: +25.47 Percent Change: +6.85

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Marriott Finds Fewer Guests Affected by Hacking But Millions of Cards, Passport Numbers Involved

11:04 AM, Jan 4, 2019 — Marriott International (MAR) said millions of unique payment card numbers that were encrypted and passport numbers that were both encrypted and not were affected in the data breach reported in November, while it lowered the projection for the overall number of guests who might have been affected.

In an update Friday, the company said it identified 383 million guest records as the “upper limit” of those involved in the incident that saw access gained to a reservations database for its Starwood unit. In its initial disclosure, Marriott estimated 500 million guests could be involved.

“As we near the end of the cyber forensics and data analytics work, we will continue to work hard to address our customers’ concerns and meet the standard of excellence our customers deserve and expect from Marriott,” said Arne Sorenson, Marriott’s chief executive.

Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that China was behind the hacking, a claim that was denied by the Asian country’s government. Marriott made no mention of responsibility in its statement Friday.

In the update, Marriott said there weren’t necessarily 383 million unique guests involved in the breach that related to reservations at Starwood properties on or before Sept. 10, as “there appear to be multiple records for the same guest.”

But the company said approximately 5.25 million unencrypted passport numbers were included in the information that was accessed in the breach, as well as 20.3 million encrypted numbers.

“There is no evidence that the unauthorized third party accessed the master encryption key needed to decrypt” the numbers, Marriott said. It’s working on enabling call center representatives to refer guests to resources that will allow them to look up passport numbers to see if they were included in the unencrypted set.

The hotel operator also said about 8.6 million encrypted payment cards were involved, and of that number, some 354,000 weren’t expired as of September last year. But Marriott again said there’s no evidence the hacker got access to the components needed to decrypt the numbers.

“While the payment card field in the data involved was encrypted, Marriott is undertaking additional analysis to see if payment card data was inadvertently entered into other fields and was therefore not encrypted,” the company said. There might be fewer than 2,000 numbers in other fields in the data involved in the breach that could turn out to be payment card details, it said.

Companies: Marriott International
Price: 106.26 Price Change: +4.52 Percent Change: +4.44

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Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Crude Continues Weekly Slump on Forecasts of Weaker Demand in 2019; Gold Higher on Government Shutdown, Trade Worries

(MT Newswires) – Crude ended Friday’s session higher, but closed the week in the red, with Friday’s gains following a near 4% dive on Thursday. The price action continues the low-volume turbulent patch that many markets were experiencing in the past week. Prices hit 18-month lows for the week, despite the planned 1.2 million-barrel-per-day output cut by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Markets continue to see the supply and demand balance as out of kilter, with demand seen falling back in 2019 on the back of an anticipated slowing in global economic activity. The latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US stockpiles of commercial crude were “virtually unchanged” in the week ending Dec. 21. Inventories came in at 441.4 million barrels compared with 441.5 million barrels reported a week earlier. The stockpiles are still about 7% above the five-year average for this time of year. The slight change in the stockpiles data contrasts with the American Petroleum Institute’s expectation for a jump of 6.9 million barrels in the week to 448.2 million. Finally, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US increased by two to 885 in the week ending Dec. 28. The combined oil and gas rig count in the US also rose by three to 1,083 as gas rigs rose by one to 198.

Light, sweet crude oil for February delivery fell 0.55% for the week, settling at $45.33 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline fell during the week, down 0.25% and settling at $1.30 per gallon on Friday. Meanwhile, natural gas for March delivery sank 8.11% on the week at $3.15 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 0.20% lower for the  week, compared with a decline of 2.57% in the previous week.

Gold ended the Friday session higher, settling at $1,283.00 and ending the week 1.88% higher. Prices for the yellow metal were higher for most of the week and hovered near a fresh six-month high as the dollar weakened against most major currencies and equities tumbled on growth concerns and political uncertainty after a historic run up north on Wednesday. Concerns about a partial US government shutdown and doubts about the US and China agreeing on a long-term trade deal before the expiry of the agreed 90-day truce also contributed to the sell-off in stock markets and made investors rush to the safe-haven metal. Additionally, US President Donald Trump’s recent comments about the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decisions, and market speculation that the Fed might go slow on monetary tightening from here on appear to be capping the dollar’s upside. On the other hand, copper ended Friday’s session up at $2.68 per pound, and closed the week 0.39% higher, logging weekly gains for the first time in five weeks. However, these gains were held in check by continuing concerns over the slowdown in economic growth in China, underscored by a decline in earnings of the country’s industrial firms in November. On Thursday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported that November industrial profits slipped 1.8% to RMB594.8 billion or $86.3 billion — the first decline since December 2015.

Agriculture commodities ended the week mostly higher. Sugar had a weekly increase of 0.32% and settled at a price of $0.12 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $1.01 per pound at Friday’s close, up 1.30% for the week; and cocoa rose 5.59% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,408 per tonne. Among grains, wheat fell 0.44% and settled at $5.12 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; corn was down 0.92% in the week and settled at $3.76 per bushel in Friday’s session; and soybeans fell 0.08% for the week, closing at $8.96 per bushel on Friday.  In agricultural commodities news, China earlier announced that it is allowing imports of rice from the US — including brown rice, polished rice and crushed rice — for the first time, ahead of the trade talks that would resume between the two countries in early January. How much rice will be imported from the US, however, was not indicated. According to a report from Reuters, experts say that the price of US rice is not as competitive compared with rice sourced from Southeast Asia, and therefore China’s move can be taken as a gesture of goodwill. Rice closed the Friday session at $0.10 per cwt and fell 4.83% for the week.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was 0.91% lower for the week, compared with the 2.49% decrease in the prior week.

 

Copyright © 2019 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

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Apple More Than Just iPhones as Investors Look at Segmentation, Streaming Services, Reallocation, RBC Says

8:10 AM, Jan 2, 2019 — Apple (AAPL) is more than just iPhones.

Investors have been heavily focused in the past couple of months on “soft” demand for the company’s phones, but “we think that in an increasingly risk-off environment, Apple with its strong balance-sheet, aggressive buyback, and ability to drive GMs higher remains a core large-cap tech holding,” RBC analysts said.

Analysts led by Amit Daryanani said in a report that there are several questions that could affect the stock in 2019 and beyond.

It’s possible that the company will rethink segmentation during the next cycle, the bank said. If demand for iPhones is closer to a bear scenarios, that could call into question Apple’s pricing power.

On a happier note, the company could launch a new streaming service after announcing “sizable” investments in content last year, which may suggest its intentions go beyond bolstering its Apple Music user base, RBC said. Still, the key is about implementation.

Capital reallocation also is possible as the company can’t seem to time the market. The question, the analysts said, is whether repurchases made at peak levels causes management to rethink or tweak capital allocation, especially if the stock remains depressed for a few quarters.

Still, the company’s low stock prices creates an “attractive” jumping-on point for investors who want to benefit from its ability to generate revenue and earnings growth, the bank said.

“We believe multiple catalysts remain as the company benefits from iPhone ramps; Mac/iPad refresh cycle; potential iTV launch or other major product lines; and improvements in capital allocation policy,” RBC said. “We believe the fundamental reality remains that Apple’s valuation is materially sub-par to what we anticipate is its long-term revenue and EPS potential.”

Companies: Apple Inc.
Price: 154.54 Price Change: -3.31 Percent Change: -2.10

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Amazon.com Says Sales at Highest Ever During Holiday Season, Doesn’t Give Specific Figures

7:59 AM, Dec 26, 2018 — Amazon.com (AMZN) said sales on its platform reached their highest-ever this holiday season with its Echo Dot, the Glam Glitter Series Doll and Carhartt items among products that led the way.

The company said “tens of millions” started Prime free trials or paid memberships to get free shipping on items. Chief Executive Jeff Wilke said more than a billion items shipped free with Prime memberships.

Amazon’s best-selling devices included the Echo Dot, the Fire TV Stick 4K with Alexa voice remote and the Echo. Its Kids Edition devices also sold well with the Echo Dot Kids Edition and Fire Kids Edition tablets reaching all-time highs, the company said in a statement.

Without delving into specific numbers, Amazon said customers purchased “millions” of Amazon Fire TV, Fire Table and Kindle products during the holiday season. Ring and Blink sales reached records, according to the statement. The Smart Plug, TP-Link Kasa Smart Plug Mini Outlet and the iRobot Roomba 690 also were big sellers.

Consumers listened to “hundreds of millions more hours of music” through Alexa using several services including Amazon Music, Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music, Amazon said. The most-requested song on Alexa during the season was `All I Want For Christmas is You’ by Mariah Carey, Amazon said.

Best-selling toys this year including the L.O.L. Suprise! line, the Glam Glitter Series Doll, Nerf’s N-Strike Elite Strongarm Blaster, Melissa and Doug Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes, the Crayola Inspiration Art Case and the LEGO Creator Mighty Dinosaurs Toy.

The best-selling electronics this year included Bose Quiet Comfort 35 wireless headphones, the Samsung Flat 65-inch 4K television, the Apple (AAPL) iPad and the Wemo Mini Smart Plug, Amazon said.

Apparel company Carhartt did well, selling more than a million items on Amazon. Among the more popular clothing and shoe companies were Calvin Klein, Champion and Ugg, Amazon said. So-called athleisure items were a favorite with Alo Yoga, Nike (NKE) and Adidas all faring well.

 

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Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Crude Logs Weekly Decline on Worries Over Slowing Global Growth, Weaker Demand; Gold Ekes Out Gains Following Fed Rate Decision

(MT Newswires) – Crude ended Friday’s session lower and closed out last week in the red, amid worries that a slowdown in the global economy could undercut crude oil demand. These concerns have overshadowed media reports suggesting that production cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) starting next month will be deeper than expected. Russian oil output has been at a record high of 11.42 million barrels per day (bpd) in December so far and US shale output is growing steadily, leaving investors wondering whether the OPEC supply cuts of 1 million to 1.3 million barrels a day would be enough to stabilize the oil market. Back home, the latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed that US crude oil inventories dropped last week by 497,000 barrels — less than the 2.4 million barrels decrease expected but still the third straight weekly decline. This compares with the American Petroleum Institute report that US crude oil inventories showed a surprise gain of 3.5 million barrels. Finally, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US jumped by 10 to 883, the highest level since Nov. 30. The combined oil and gas rig count in the US also rose by nine to 1,080 as gas rigs slipped by one to 197.

Light, sweet crude oil for February delivery had a sharp decline of 11.88% for the week, settling at $45.59 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline fell during the week, down 10.21% and settling at $1.31 per gallon on Friday. Meanwhile, natural gas for March delivery sank 2.95% this week at $3.54 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 2.57% lower this week, compared with a decline of 1.00% in the previous week.

Gold ended the Friday session lower, settling at $1,258.10 but ultimately ending the week 1.34% higher. The yellow metal logged gains and hit a near six-month high on the back of weakness from the US dollar, which fell against its rivals in European trade. The greenback was weighed by the Federal Reserve’s decision reiterating its commitment to tighten monetary policy, despite rising risks to growth. The Fed hiked the federal-funds rate by 0.25 percentage points to a range between 2.25% and 2.5% and said it has now penciled in two rate hikes in 2019, not the three moves seen in September, and still forecasts one more hike for 2020. On the other hand, copper ended Friday’s session down at $2.67 per pound, and closed the week 3.14% lower, even as an industry study group reported a widening supply deficit for the red metal. The International Copper Study Group (ICSG) reported that the global world refined copper market showed a 168,000 tonne deficit in September, compared with a 43,000 tonne deficit in August. Analysts are now expecting the red metal to benefit from the supply-demand deficit in 2019, especially if the US-China trade dispute becomes resolved in the next year.

Agriculture commodities ended the week mostly lower. Sugar had a weekly decrease of 3.37% and settled at a price of $0.12 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $1.00 per pound at Friday’s close, down 2.54% for the week; and cocoa rose 0.62% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,271 per tonne. Among grains, wheat fell 3.11% and settled at $5.14 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and corn was down 1.62% in the week and settled at $3.79 per bushel in Friday’s session. Meanwhile, soybeans fell 1.92% for the week, closing at $8.98 per bushel on Friday. Reuters had reported that China intends to make a third round of US soybeans purchases before the year-end. The report, which cited two unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that China will be purchasing more than 2 million tonnes, likely just before the Christmas holiday. This would bring the total US sales to China to more than 5 million tonnes in December. However, this would still be less than a quarter of the purchases China made in the same month a year ago.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) was 2.49% lower for the week, compared with the 0.11% increase in the prior week.

 

Copyright © 2018 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

Investing involves risks, including loss of principal.

Commodity ETP Disclosures:  Download a copy of a Fund’s Prospectus by clicking one of the following:
USCIUSAGUSOUSLUSOUDNOUSODBNOUNGUNL, UGAUHN, or CPER  

Please read any Prospectus carefully before investing.

These Funds are not mutual funds or any other type of Investment Company within the meaning of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and are not subject to regulation thereunder.

Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

Please read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results; current performance may be lower or higher. Investment returns/principal value will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Most recent performance is available at www.uscfinvestments.com.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This information is intended for U.S. residents.

Funds distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 

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Federal Reserve Raises Key Interest Rate by 25 Points as Expected Despite Trump’s Pleas to Leave Unchanged

2:09 PM, Dec 19, 2018 — The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 25 basis points, as expected, raising the cost of borrowing for home buyers and companies looking to expand.

The Federal Open Market Committee raised its federal funds rate to a target of 2.25% to 2.5%, it said in a statement on Wednesday. The rate increase was widely expected, though the odds of a hike on the CME Group’s FedWatch tool decreased from 78% early in the day to 72% about 15 minutes before the announcement was made.

Committee members said realized and expected labor market and inflation conditions led to the rate increase. The hike marks the fourth rate bump this year. In September, the last time the FOMC raised rates, members said sustained economic growth, strong labor markets and inflation near their 2% medium-term objective would lead to further rate increases.

In a slight change to its wording, the FOMC said in Wednesday’s report risks are roughly balanced, but that it would “continue to monitor global economic and financial developments and assess their implications for the economic outlook.”

The Fed was more dovish on its outlook than it was three months ago. Policy makers lowered their views on the projected appropriate path for 2019 to a median of 2.9% from 3.1% in September. That implies just two hikes of 25 basis points for next year, which would put the target range at 2.75% to 3%. The longer-run projection was also lowered to a median of 2.8% from 3% seen in September.

The FOMC also lowered views on economic growth, projecting 2.3% in 2019 from a September view of 2.5%, while keeping 2020 expansion unchanged at 2% and 2021 at 1.8%. The projection for this year was reduced to 3% growth from 3.1% seen in the last summary.

Jobless claims last week fell to near the lowest since 1969, and unemployment in November also close to a 49-year low at 3.7%, according to the Labor Department, near what economists call “full employment” levels. Wage growth is up about 3% year-over-year, which is good news for the overall economy.

Still, there have been some recent economic hiccups that some believe are warning signs of a recession. Non-farm payrolls increased by 155,000 in November, missing expectations for a jump of 198,000, while the housing market has suffered a slowdown as rising interest rates and prices keep would-be buyers on the sidelines. The S&P 500 has dropped about 13% since the start of October.

President Trump has been adamantly against another increase, urging the Fed to not make “another mistake” by raising rates. The Wall Street Journal in an editorial also said committee members should take a breather and leave rates unchanged. Analysts, however, didn’t expect the Fed to bow to political pressure.

The FOMC reiterated its stance that future adjustments will be based on measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressure and other economic data.

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Weekly Commodities ETF Report: Crude and Copper End Week Lower on China’s Lackluster Refinery and Industrial Data; Gold Declines Ahead of Expected Fed Interest Rate Hike

(MT Newswires) – Crude ended Friday’s session lower to end the week in the negative, as refinery data from China last month showed a slowdown from the previous two months and raised demand concerns. Industrial data from China showed November refinery throughput reached 12.28 million barrels per day (bpd), up 2.9% from the same month last year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, adding that was below the 12.43 million bpd in October and a record of 12.49 million bpd in September. Meanwhile, a report from the International Energy Agency on Thursday said that total global oil supply in November fell by 360,000 barrels a day as a result of outages in the North Sea and Canada, as well as a decline in Russian output. The agency expects oil demand growth next year to remain unchanged at 1.4 million barrels a day but expects a supply deficit in the second quarter of the year. In November, the agency had predicted a surplus for the entire year. Back home, the latest data from the Energy Information Administration showed crude oil stockpiles in the US dropped by about 1.21 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 7, falling for the second successive week after 10 successive weeks of increases. The decline, however, was almost three times lower than the expected level. This compares with the American Petroleum Institute report that US crude inventories in the US fell by 10.2 million barrels in the week. Finally, Baker Hughes (BHGE) said Friday that the number of oil rigs operating in the US fell by four to 873. The combined oil and gas rig count in the US also fell by four to 1,071 as gas rigs were flat at 198.

Light, sweet crude oil for January delivery had a weekly decline of 1.76%, settling at $51.20 per barrel at the end of Friday’s session. In other energy futures, gasoline fell during the week, down 2.05% and settling at $1.43 per gallon on Friday. Meanwhile, natural gas for March delivery sank 14.18% this week at $3.61 per 1 million British thermal unit.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Commodity Index Total Return Index (SDCITR) was 1.00% lower this week, compared with a gain of 2.07% in the previous week.

Gold ended the Friday session lower, settling at $1,241.40 and ultimately ending the week down 0.95% as the US dollar gained in strength against most major currencies, riding on somewhat encouraging US retail sales data. According to a report from the Commerce Department, retail sales growth in November was slightly weaker than expected due to a steep drop in sales by gas stations, although underlying retail sales growth remained strong. The report said retail sales edged up by 0.2% in November after spiking by an upwardly revised 1.1% in October. Besides the retail sales data, a likely 25-basis points hike in US interest rates next week supported the dollar’s uptick. The Federal Reserve, which is scheduled to announce its monetary policy Dec. 19, is widely expected to raise interest rates for the fourth time this year. However, contrary to earlier indications and expectations, the central bank is unlikely to keep hiking rates in the coming year. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said that he hopes the Fed “won’t be raising interest rates anymore.” On the other hand, copper ended Friday’s session down at $2.76 per pound, but managed to squeeze through a gain of 0.33% for the week, even as downbeat economic data from China weighed on industrial metals as a whole. China reported that industrial production for November was 5.4% — the slowest growth pace since early 2016. Forecasts were for 5.9%. It also said that its retail sales for the same month were up 8.1% — the slowest pace of growth since early 2003. Expectations were for 8.8%. The impact of the lackluster industrial data, however, was mitigated by China’s announcement it would rescind retaliatory tariffs on imported US autos.

Agriculture commodities ended the week mostly mixed. Sugar had a weekly increase of 0.24% and settled at a price of $0.13 per pound on Friday; coffee was around $1.02 per pound at Friday’s close, down 1.83% for the week; and cocoa rose 4.79% for the week and closed Friday’s session at $2,237 per tonne. Among grains, wheat fell 0.33% and settled at $5.30 per bushel at the end of Friday’s session; and corn was down 0.13% in the week and settled at $3.85 per bushel Friday. Meanwhile, soybeans fell 1.59% for the week, closing at $9.14 per bushel on Friday. The ongoing trade discussions between the US and China continue to weigh on prices of agricultural products, and traders are keeping an eye on the developments. On Wednesday, China made good on its pledge to increase soybean imports. The US Department of Agriculture reported that private exporters sold 1.13 million tonnes of beans to China. This is the first major purchase of US soybeans since Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping struck a trade war truce earlier this month. However, traders were expecting the country to buy between 3 million and 5 million tonnes. There is still some uncertainty if China will buy more in the near future.

The SummerHaven Dynamic Agriculture Index Total Return Index (SDAITR) rose 0.11% higher for the week, a slight improvement from the 0.03% increase in the prior week.

 

Copyright © 2018 MT Newswires, www.mtnewswires.com.

Information Contact: Justin Hillstrom – 720.917.0770 Email: Justin.hillstrom@alpsinc.com, Website is www.uscfinvestments.com

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Commodity trading is highly speculative and involves a high degree of risk. Commodities and futures generally are volatile and are not suitable for all investors. Investing in commodity interests subject each Fund to the risks of its related industry. An investor may lose all or substantially all of an investment. These risks could result in large fluctuations in the price of a particular Fund’s respective shares. Funds that focus on a single sector generally experience greater volatility. Leveraged and inverse exchange-traded products pursue daily leveraged investment objectives which means they are riskier than alternatives which do not use leverage. They are not suitable for all investors and should be utilized only by investors who understand leverage risk and who actively manage their investments. For further discussion of these and additional risks associated with an investment in the Funds please read the respective Fund Prospectus before investing.

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Costco Wholesale Shares Slump After Mixed Quarter, RBC Says to Buy on Pullback

10:16 AM, Dec 14, 2018 — Costco Wholesale (COST) shares were sinking Friday after the members-only retailer reported mixed results for its fiscal first quarter, but RBC Capital Markets said they’d be buyers of the stock on a pullback amid “healthy” growth in store traffic.

Late Thursday, Costco said sales rose 10% to $34.3 billion, but that was short of the consensus on Capital IQ for $34.6 billion. Net income rose to $1.73 per diluted share from $1.45 a share in the same period of last year. The Street’s expectation was for $1.62.

Gross margins were “a drag,” RBC analyst Scot Ciccarelli said in a note Friday, but the sales were “robust.” Shares of the retailer were down more than 6% in morning trading.

“Costco’s email marketing strategy along with service offerings such as Hot Buys and Buyer’s Picks continue to buoy comps (both online and in-store),” the analyst said. “We continue to expect growth in both channels to remain robust.”

Comparable sales in the 12 weeks through Nov. 25 excluding the effects of foreign exchange and gasoline prices as well as an accounting change, rose 7.5% for the total company and were up about 26% for e-commcerce. RBC said gross margins on total revenue were down 50 basis points year-on-year to about 12.7% against the bank’s 13.2% estimate, “primarily driven by Costco’s ongoing investments in its value proposition.” Traffic was up 5.2% in the US and 4.9% globally, Ciccarelli said.

Still, the analyst lowered his price target on Costco’s stock to $247 from $254, while keeping an outperform rating, after cutting his full-year 2019 earnings estimate amid “slightly more margin pressure than anticipated.” RBC is projecting EPS of $7.65, down from $7.70 seen earlier, while keeping views for 2020 and 2021 at $8.35 and $9.10.

While margins are often volatile and “came in a touch below expectations, Costco always invests in price/value,” Ciccarelli said. “This has allowed it to build a massive competitive barrier and drive some of the highest comp growth in retail, despite its massive size. We would be aggressive buyers on a pullback.”

Companies: Costco Wholesale Corporation
Price: 211.99 Price Change: -14.52 Percent Change: -6.41

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