The S&P 500 Materials (Sector) index registered a minor gain this trading week, +0.13%, with the Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLB) down 0.46%. The larger S&P 500 (SP500) stock market index was weighed down by a slide in megacap stocks amid the third quarter earnings season despite some bullish short-term signals.
Copper prices (HG1:COM) managed a +2.8% rally during the week amid signs of recovery in China. In London, three-month copper had the strongest weekly performance in more than a month as China announced positive policy measures, though the rally was partially offset by a stronger dollar and signals of a weak European economy.
Iron ore futures (SCO:COM) also rose around +3.9% in the five-day period on reports that the Chinese government may be readying an additional sovereign debt issuance as part of efforts to spark economic growth.
Nickel prices had their biggest weekly decline in a month amid a global surplus, with three-month prices on the LSE down -2.4%.
Meanwhile, gold (XAUUSD:CUR) made some gains and is nearing its biggest monthly increase since March 2023. Precious metal prices have been buoyed by safe haven inflows amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Take a look at this week’s top gainers among basic material stocks ($2B market cap or more):
Sigma Lithium (SGML) +14.91%; In the past week the lithium company has expanded its senior leadership team with new appointments and readied the third shipment of 20,000 tons of Triple Zero Green Lithium at Vitoria Port, Brazil.
Here are the top losers among basic material stocks:
Posco Holdings (PKX) -7.12%; Posco posted downbeat Q3 earnings citing weaker steel demand, lower product prices and reduced shipments.
Sibanye Stillwater (SBSW) -5.50%; Shares fell after Sibanye said its ongoing restructuring efforts could affect more than 4,000 employees and contractors.
Other materials ETFs to watch: iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF (WOOD), Materials Select Sector SPDR ETF, Vanguard Materials ETF (VAW), iShares Global Materials ETF (MXI), SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF (XME), VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (RING), Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX).