Anxiety over Friday’s jobs report dominated trading on Thursday, as investors worried that disappointing numbers could lead to a holiday shopping season even worse than last year. Elsewhere, Ben Bernanke received solid support from lawmakers, but criticism of the Federal Reserve was rampant in a hearing on Capitol Hill. Outside of Japan, which got a boost from a weakening yen, most benchmarks finished the session down.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of investable assets available through ETFs, lost 5.27 points, or 0.5%, snapping a three day winning streak. Thursday’s march lower was led by one of the biggest losers as well as one of the biggest winners.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) lost 2.2% for the day, bring its weekly loss to nearly 15%. Gas hit a 52-week low as the government announced that inventories rose again, the first time supplies have increased this late in the year since 2001. The Energy Information Administration report indicated that natural gas stocks have set new national records for seven consecutive weeks.
Also losing ground on Thursday was the Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which had been one of the year’s best performers. GDX has gained more than 50% so far in 2009. Gold prices retreated slightly on Thursday, taking mining stocks with it. GDX lost 2.3% on the day.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.