U.S. markets finished the day flat as the Dow extended its winning streak to eight sessions and the S&P 500 finished down slightly. The Dow was boosted by strength out of Boeing and DuPont, both of which saw gains after the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing and business activity rose in the mid-Atlantic region. Also in focus were firms in the health care sector which trended higher in anticipation of a vote on a $940 billion health care package overall this weekend.
The ETFdb 60 Index slipped 3.21 points, or 0.3%, to close at 1,052.63. Only 14 of the ETFdb 60′s components finished the day in positive territory.
Among the biggest losers for the day was United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), which sunk by 4.9%. This steep slide came after the weekly storage report from the Energy Information Administration showed a pull from U.S. gas stocks of 11 billion cubic feet for the week ended March 12, well below the 28 bcf analysts and traders had predicted in a Dow Jones Newswires survey. “It was a pretty disappointing storage number,” said Cameron Horwitz, an analyst with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Houston. “There was almost a 20-bcf spread between the actual number and the consensus.” UNG has a history of big movements (and often on big losses) following the release of the weekly EIA numbers (see Thursdays With UNG).
The iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT) was one of the few bright spots, finishing the day ahead by almost 1%. This was spurred by a good quarter from FedEx and an upbeat outlook from the package delivery giant. Third-quarter earnings climbed 146% to 76 cents a share from 31 cents a share a year ago. This beat Wall Street estimates of 72 cents. This strong quarter helped to buoy the rest of the transportation sector, especially railroads which were up around 1% for the day on hopes that demand would soon be increasing across the sector.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.