As expected, the week before Christmas got off to a relatively quiet start, with news of a new CFO at General Motors and a WTO ruling against China making the biggest waves. Health care stocks got a boost from word that legislation is on pace for passage later this week, as well as news of a major acquisition by Sanofi-Aventis.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, gained 1.20 points, or 0.1%, to close at 1,020.93. The index is up 2.1% for the fourth quarter.
Among the day’s biggest decliners was the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), which dropped 2.5% as investors sold off after a huge run-up in price. Monday’s loss snapped a seven-session winning streak for the most popular natural gas fund, during which it added more than 10%.
In a year that has seen most commodity ETFs gain value, UNG has been a noticeable outlier. Despite the fact that natural gas prices have actually increased in 2009, UNG is down more than 55%, done in by contango in futures markets and perhaps even by its own success (see What’s Wrong With UNG? for a look at some of the issues facing this fund). For more updates on UNG’s performance as the regulatory situation continues to evolve, sign up for our free ETF newsletter.
Financials started the week with a bang, as the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) added 1.5% on Monday. After a disastrous performance in 2008, XLF is headed towards the finish line of 2009 having clawed back some ground: the fund is up about 15% year-to-date.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.