U.S. markets continued to take their cues from Europe on Thursday, as fresh concerns about Greece’s financial mess weighed on Wall Street. Domestic jobs data did little to create a bullish mentality among investors, as the Labor Department announced that weekly jobless claims unexpectedly jumped by 22,000 last week. Economists had been expecting a decline of 13,000. Elsewhere, a long-anticipated bipartisan health care summit featured some sharp clashes between Democrats and Republicans.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, shed 1.02 points to close at 1,014.97. Volume reached its highest level of the week, while winners and losers were equally split.
The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) posted one of the day’s best gains, climbing 2.8%. Gold prices gained nearly 1% as the dollar dipped. Mining giant Newmont, which makes up almost 11% of GDX, reported that fourth quarter profits beat Wall Street estimates.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), always an active fund on days of inventory releases, lost nearly 2% after the EIA reported that gas inventories declined by 168 billion cubic feet last week. Natural gas stocks are now below last year’s levels, but slightly above the five-year average level.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.