Most major indexes finished the week range-bound after the unemployment level rose to 10.2%, the highest since 1983. This helped push gold higher, close to $1100/oz thanks to investors who continue to seek a safe haven. Meanwhile in Washington, homebuyers saw a continuation of an $8,000 tax credit for the purchase of new homes and the unemployed received news that their benefits will be extended for 20 weeks.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of the universe of investable assets available through exchange-traded products, shed 0.48 on Friday to close the week at 999.62. Aggregate volume for the index components was light at 677 million shares, approximately half the daily highs seen in recent weeks. GDX was the biggest gainer in the index, gaining 1.9% as gold broke through the $1,100 barrier, capping off a 5% rise in the price of the yellow metal this week. GDX has been an effective leveraged play on gold prices in recent weeks, and Friday was no exception. GLD rose 0.4% for the day.
The biggest loser was the volatile United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), which dropped 3.3% today after December natural gas futures fell by 17 cents to close just above $4.60. Oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported that the number of gas rigs increased by six to 734 this week, an indication of even more supply as natural gas reserves are already near capacity.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.