Markets finished the day flat, as continued fears over sovereign debt and Chinese credit markets weighed on global equities. This comes despite a promise to bailout Greece, as the lack of details regarding the bailout plan scared off some investors who fear for the future of the common currency union. The market decline was led by Dow component 3M, which sank more than 1.4% on a report from Merrill Lynch that expects slower growth from the manufacturer in the coming cycle. The NASDAQ, however, was able to mount a late surge to finish the day in the black thanks to buying of technology and pharmaceutical firms. This late charge will give the market some momentum heading into the holiday shortened week as U.S. markets will be closed on Monday in celebration of Presidents Day.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, lost 1.32 points, or 0.1%, to close at 1,003.40. The ETFdb 60 finished the week up 1.2%.
The biggest loser for today in the ETFdb 60 was the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI) which fell nearly 2% in Friday trading. This came after China increased bank reserve requirements for the second time this year, leading some investors to believe that the main engine of growth in the world economy may be overheating and headed for a slide.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) lead the charge for advancing ETFs in the ETFdb 60, posting a gain of 1.3%. The increase comes after a slew of snowstorms that have blanketed the Midwest, East coast, and now the South, which has helped to push up demand for this traditional heating source. The EIA also reported that natural gas stockpiles fell more than expected last week. Still, inventories remain well above the five-year average.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.