Stocks treaded water on an election Tuesday, finishing about level on a day when GM decided it will keep its Opel unit and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway announced the acquisition of Burlington Northern. News of the deal sent shares of BNI up more than 25%, giving a boost in the process to the iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT). Prior to trading on Tuesday, Burlington Northern accounted for about 11.4% of IYT’s assets. IYT finished the day up about 5.4%.
The ETFdb 60 Index gained 5.08 points, or 0.5%, to close at 988.25. Rising gold prices contributed to the day’s gain, as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) gained 2.4% and the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) added nearly 8%. The IMF said on Monday that it had sold more than 200 tonnes of gold to India over the last two weeks at an average price of about $1,045 per ounce, boosting India’s gold holdings by more than 50%.
On Tuesday, the world’s biggest fold producer, Barrick Gold, and AngloGold Ashanti, the number three miner, both said they may buy back their hedge positions sooner than anticipated, likely indicating that they expect gold prices to rise. As of November 2, Barrick and Ashanti accounted for 14.3% and 5.5% of GDX’s holdings, respectively.
Leading the decliners on the day was the iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Fund (PFF), which slipped 1.4% on volume of more than 2 million shares. PFF has delivered a solid performance in 2009, gaining more than 15% on the year.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.