A week that saw the Dow cross the 10,000 mark for the first time in a year ended with the blue chip index just shy of the psychologically important level. Most securities finished Friday in the red, as the ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark designed to measure the performance of the universe of investable assets available through exchange-traded products, closed down $4.76 (0.5%) to 1,018.00. Losers outnumbered winners by more than 2-to-1 on aggregate volume for the benchmark components of 772 million shares.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) continued its wild ride Friday, surging 3.1% as investors continue to bet on cold winter weather and a recovery in gas demand. With natural gas prices near their low for the decade, some investors are making big bets on a natural gas boom beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009 and continuing through 2010. UNG has been volatile in recent weeks, as the combination of an uncertain regulatory environment and contradictory fundamental factors have sent prices for the natural gas ETF all over the board.
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index (IYR) led the decliners on Friday. IYR finished Friday well above its intraday low, but was still down 2.7% for the session. Real estate ETFs have been closely monitored by investors this week as major banks deliver earnings and provide a glimpse into expected loan loss rates in coming quarters. Some fear that commercial real estate will be the next shoe to drop in an ongoing financial crisis.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.