Most major indexes finished the week rangebound as markets digested conflicting data. Although retail sales increased unexpectedly, weak consumer sentiment and unchanged inventories helped to drag the markets lower and balance out the hopes of renewed consumer spending. “There is a lack of conviction in the markets, everyone is kind of in wait-and-see mode.” said Neil Menard, principal at Steben & Co. in Rockville, Md.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, added 0.59 points to notch its fourth consecutive winning session. The ETFdb 60 Index is now up 1.2% on the year.
The Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO) was one of the day’s biggest movers, advancing nearly 2% after Canadian fertilizer and feed producer Potash Corp. raised earnings guidance for the coming year. Potash accounts for nearly 8% of MOO’s holdings. Also boosting the agribusiness sector on Friday was Terra Industries (TRA), which will reportedly be acquired by rival CF Industries (CF). TRA and CF each account for about 1.6% of MOO’s holdings.
Another big winner on the day was the iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ) which finished the day ahead by 1%. This came after a weaker yen boosted exporters and comments from the Japanese Prime Minister suggested possible intervention in the currency markets was possible in order to keep the yen weak against the greenback. Analysts at Morgan Stanley also said there was a “heightened risk” of Japanese intervention in foreign exchange markets, as the “level of the exchange rate is out of step with underlying [Japanese economic] fundamentals.”
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.