After weeks of good news fueled hopes that the U.S. economy had finally stopped shedding jobs, many investors were disappointed Friday when the data showed that another 85,000 were cut in December. Highlighting the complexities of the current economy, most major benchmarks actually gained ground on the day, as the disappointing jobs data reduced the likelihood of a rate increase in coming months.
The ETFdb 60 Index gained 2.56 points on Friday, closing the first week of the year up 2%. Gains on Friday were broad-based, as winners outnumbered losers by more than three-to-one.
Among the day’s biggest gainers was the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) which gained 1.5% as gold prices rose. GDX has been one of the more volatile ETFs over the last six months, climbing as gold prices broke $1,200 but subsequently plummeting when prices pulled back. ETFdb Pro members know that GDX was one of our actionable ETF ideas for January, and is already up nearly 8% (if you’re not a Pro member yet, sign up for a free trial or read more here).
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) continued its wild ways, losing 1.9% in the week’s final session. UNG swung by at least that much each day this week, finishing up 3.3% for the first five days of the year. On Friday, natural gas prices were hit by profit-taking and signs that unseasonably cold weather was beginning to moderate across the country. Also on Friday, Baker Hughes announced that the number of rigs drilling for natural gas rose by 22 this week to 781, down sharply from the 1,600-plus rigs in place in September 2008 but well above a low of 665 in July 2009.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.