Equities markets trended higher on the back of an upbeat Federal Reserve outlook on the U.S. economy and quality earnings reports. This modest uptick came despite continued worry in the euro zone over sovereign debt issues, with Spain the latest country to suffer a downgrade from ratings agency Standard and Poor’ss. Among Dow components, the biggest gainer was Dow Chemical, which saw its shares jump higher by close to 6% after the company reported net income of 41 cents a share compared to 3 cents a share in the same period a year ago according to the AP.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, added 3.23 points, or 1.3%, to close at 1,062.18.
One of the biggest losers on the day was the iShares MSCI EAFE Small Cap Fund (SCZ), which was down 1.1% in Wednesday trading. SCZ, which tracks the MSCI EAFE Small Cap Index, measures the performance of small cap stocks in Europe, Australiasian, and Far Eastern markets. SCZ makes big allocations to financial firms (16.9%) and maintains nearly 60% of its assets to European equities, which have been rocked as of late due to the debt downgrades in several euro zone countries. SCZ could be experiencing an aftershock from the debt crisis news that is quickly spreading across Europe (for more information, see SCZ’s holdings here).
One of the biggest gainers on the day was the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which soared higher by 2.9% in today’s trading. This news came after Barrick Gold, the largest component of GDX, rose by 3.7% after the company announced that its first quarter profit doubled to 76 cents a share. Analysts had expected 62 cents a share (see Three ETFs To Watch This Week, highlighting GDX as a big mover this week). The company also announced that its average sale price for gold increased rose from $915 an ounce a year ago to $1,114 this quarter. The entire gold mining sector was up on the news, which helped to push GDX sharply higher (see more charts of GDX here).
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.