Equity markets finished the day flat as continued worries about the euro zone weighed on the global economy despite good news out of the technology sector. Several prominent names in the technology and technology retail segments posted encouraging outlooks for the second quarter, including chip maker Qualcomm and retailer Best Buy. “Today is all about earnings, and the comments from Qualcomm and Best Buy have been very positive,” said James Meyer, chief investment officer at Tower Bridge Advisers. “The economic backdrop for the upcoming earnings season looks very good, particularly in the tech sector.”
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, lost 3.98 points, or 0.4%, to close at 1,041.37.
One of the biggest losers in the ETFdb 60 was United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), which finished the day down close to 3%. The fund sunk after a government report showed that supplies grew for the first time this year, further adding to the excessive supply of the commodity. The government report also said that natural gas levels, currently at 1.63 trillion cubic feet, are 8% higher than the five year average. UNG has a history of extreme volatility on days in which government reports on the commodity’s supply report comes out; for more on this phenomenon, see Thursdays With UNG.
One of the biggest gainers in the ETFdb 60 was Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY), which added 0.6%. The fund surged on news from the Labor Department that first-time claims for jobless benefits dropped by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 442,000. That number was below analyst estimates of 450,000, according to Thomson Reuters via the AP. The news sent consumer stocks higher on hopes that increased hiring is right around the corner and that employed consumers will be able to buy more discretionary goods. “We’re on the cusp of a hiring recovery,” said Zach Pandl, an economist at Nomura Securities.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing