After two days of steep losses, the U.S. equity markets experienced something of a rally on Friday. By the end of the week, investors had thoroughly digested the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting and largely decided that quantitative easing was not at risk of ending in the near future.
On the commodities front, WTI crude (NYSEARCA:USO) increased 0.59 percent to $93.39, making little progress against steep losses earlier in the week. The average price of U.S. regular gasoline for the week ended February 18 was $3.747 per gallon, up over 15 cents from a year ago. Brent crude was up 0.64 percent to $114.26 per barrel.
Gold (NYSEARCA:GLD) futures for April delivery, the most active contract, decreased $5.80 to settle at $1,572.80 per ounce, while silver (NYSEARCA:SLV) futures for March fell 24 cents to close at $28.46.
Both precious metals finished the week lower, as the U.S. dollar gained strength against the euro currency. The euro-zone economy is expected to contract for the second consecutive year in 2013, and the third year in the past five, according to the European Commission. The forecast is for a 0.3 percent contraction and the EU’s governing body expects a decrease in spending by businesses, consumers and national governments.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 0.015 points to 1.968 percent.