Stock traders are reeling from one of the most turbulent market moves in history, after a record-breaking collapse on Monday followed by rallies that were nearly as intense. Although some analysts fear volatile markets, others recognize that volatility brings larger rewards along with larger risks.
During the wild action of the week, some individual stocks became untradeable, which led traders to flock toward the stock index futures, which follow the value of the NASDQ, S&P 500 or Dow as a whole. Others utilized the put and call options on those markets, which gave additional venues for risk reduction or investments.
By midday Friday, the markets were close to unchanged on the week, like a violent roller coaster ride that finishes right where it began.
Crude Explodes on Saudi Invasion of Yemen
After tumbling to a six-year low at $37.75 on Monday during the stock markets' plunge, crude oil prices roared back, gaining over 20% by midday Friday.
Prices hit a two-week high at $45.50 on Friday morning after the market absorbed rumors that Saudi Arabian troops had crossed the border into Yemen, its neighbor to the south. Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since March in a three-way conflict between the Hadi government, Houthi rebels, and Al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia had been supporting the Hadi government with air power, but Friday's invasion marked the first time ground troops were used.
Although Yemen is not a substantial crude oil producer, some fear that the conflict will spill into Saudi Arabia or even turn into a regional conflict, as the Houthi rebels are thought to be supported by Iran.
Wheat Withers Worse
Alongside the massive volatility in the financial markets this week, wheat slid into new low ground. Prices have been under pressure due to a large global crop, and this week's global economic worries are hurting the demand outlook as well. The US is the world's largest wheat exporter, so our prices are especially sensitive to global economic conditions.
As of midday Friday, September Chicago wheat was worth $4.80 per bushel.