The massive market transformation this month that some on Wall Street called a "once in a decade opportunity" might have just been a one-off technical move because of taxes.Marketsread more
The Pentagon will deploy U.S. forces to the Middle East on the heels of the attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced...Defenseread more
CNBC did a deep dive through the most recent Wall Street research to find stocks that analysts say are underappreciated.Marketsread more
Shares of MasterCard are up 46% this year, and 1120% since 2011, getting a boost from the strong U.S. consumer.Investingread more
CNBC sat in on an "empathy training" at Amazon PillPack's Somerville offices, which is part of new hire orientation.Technologyread more
Trade with China is the 'big unknown' for the Federal Reserve as it decides how best to support the U.S. economy, says Council on Foreign Relations Director of International...Futures Nowread more
Lobbying experts said the visit is likely an attempt to be in lawmakers' ears as they consider legislation that would impact Facebook.Technologyread more
Yardeni Research's Edward Yardeni believes the U.S. economy is picking up steam.Trading Nationread more
Iran's audacious drone and cruise missile attack on Saudi Arabia's oil producing facilities has provided a critical test yet for the Trump administration's foreign policy. A...Politicsread more
Chinese trade negotiators suddenly canceled a visit to meet U.S. farmers after they wrapped up trade talks in Washington this week.Marketsread more
Looking back on a tumultuous year where the majority of asset classes were deep in the red, cocoa futures turned out to be one sweet spot.
In fact, a look at the top year-to-date performers among major futures markets reveals that cocoa has returned a whopping 28 percent this year. (The only trade that did better were complicated bets in volatility futures, which gain in value along with the Cboe Volatility Index. Volatility is not a pure asset class like a commodity or other security.)
Source: Finviz.com (Through Dec. 28)
While the stock market and other risk assets were battered this year on fears of slowing global growth and trade battles, cocoa prices enjoyed a surge because of short supply as the dry weather in top producing areas such as Ivory Coast hurt production.
"The main crop harvest is continuing in West Africa. Conditions are hot and dry. Main crop production ideas for Ivory Coast and Ghana are being reduced, with Ivory Coast now estimating its main crop production at 1.985 million tons, down from previous estimates just over 2.0 million tons," said Jack Scoville, senior softs analyst at Chicago's Price Futures Group, in a note on Friday.
"Conditions appear good in East Africa and Asia. Demand is said to be improving as offers from the new harvest start to increase," Scoville added.
The higher cost of cocoa, which is used to make chocolate, has put pressure on candy companies this year. The Hershey Co. and Tootsie Roll Industries have both lost about 6 percent in 2018, while Nestle is set to finish the year flat.
"We had some commodity and packaging headwind of about 20 basis points in the first half," Francois-Xavier Roger, Nestle's chief financial officer, said on an earnings call in July. The company's "cost savings were partially offset by higher commodity and packaging costs. ... In 2019 and 2020, I'm more encouraged by some of the internal projects we have underway to reduce our commodity costs."
Other than trading futures, investors could have also accessed the winning commodity through the iPath Bloomberg Cocoa SubTR ETN, which has gained 22 percent this year.