Thursday marked a second consecutive day of chaos on Wall Street, as an Obama proposal to curtail risks taken by banks weighed on the financial sector. Commodity producers saw shares plummet as well, as concerns that governments are beginning to pull back support plans impacted expectations for global growth. After the bell, Google reported that its fourth quarter earnings surged more than 33% from the same period a year ago as the company was successful expanding its business into new areas, such as its Nexus Once cellphone aimed to compete with the iPhone. Despite beating analyst estimates, Google’s shares sunk as much as 5% in after hours trading.
The ETFdb 60 Index joined other major benchmarks by dipping into the red for 2010. The index lost 12.21 points, or 1.2% on Thursday and is now down 0.4% for the year.
Among the day’s biggest losers was the iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ), which lost 4.7% on concerns that China may impose tighter monetary policy and the expectation of tougher regulations for U.S. banks. Worries over China’s plans to prevent its economy from overheating also sent commodity stocks, which account for a significant portion of EWZ, reeling.
The day’s few winners included the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX), which added more than 5% as the VIX surged. The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) also jumped on Thursday, adding 1.6%. The Energy Information Administration reported earlier in the day that natural gas inventories held in underground storage declined by 245 billion cubic feet for the week ended January 15. Analysts had been expecting a drop of about 225 billion cubic feet.
Inventory is now 0.2% below five year average levels and less than 1% above last year. Last month inventories were as much as 15% above average, but a wave of cold weather reduced stocks significantly.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.