Tuesday was a relatively slow day on Wall Street, with most assets moving little off their opening levels throughout the day. Boeing completed the oft-delayed first flight for its new Dreamliner, while a grand jury indicted hedge fund head Raj Rajaratnam with five counts of conspiracy. In Copenhagen, highly-anticipated climate change talks appeared to hit a snag, reducing the likelihood of substantial results coming from the summit.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark designed to measure the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, lost 4.21 points, or 0.4%, to close at 1,025.32. The loss snapped a 4-day winning streak for the index. Volume was at its lowest level in weeks, and advancing stocks were hard to find as winners outnumbered losers by more than six-to-one.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) gained 3.3% for the day, putting it up more than 6% for the week. News of Exxon Mobil’s acquisition of natural gas explorer XTO has increased optimism among investors for an uptick in natural gas prices in 2010. Exxon’s plans to establish a new business unit to extract fuels from shales, tight sands, and coal seems may change the face of the domestic energy arena. With a deep-pocketed energy giant now having a major interest in the future of natural gas, many believe that the likelihood of becoming the “fuel of the future” has improved significantly.
Leading decliners on Tuesday was the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which shed more than 2% as gold prices dropped slightly and equities also fell. After staging a remarkable rally as gold prices pushed through $1,200 per ounce, GDX has lost significant ground in recent weeks.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.