Equity markets continued a tumultuous run on Thursday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped below 10,000 ahead of highly-anticipated comments from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday. The declines on Thursday came after the latest round of economic data disappointed investors; manufacturing activity in the Kansas City district of the Federal Reserve Bank slowed unexpectedly, increasing anxiety over a prolonged slowdown in the U.S. economy. Elsewhere, a bidding war between Dell and HP escalated, while Canada announced that it had thwarted a potential terrorist attack.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, slid 1.91 points, or 0.2%. The relatively small drop came as losers outnumbered winners by more than two-to-one, with most equity components finishing the session lower.
Among the biggest losers was the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), which lost 1.8% on the day. That decline came as natural gas prices fell to the lowest level of 2010 after the weekly government inventory report showed that stockpiles rose more than analysts had expected. A deteriorating outlook for the U.S. economy also weighed on gas prices, as did cooler-than-expected weather across much of the country.
Among the ETFs that rallied higher on Thursday was the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Copper ETN (JJC), which added 1.8% during the session. Copper prices jumped as the dollar weakened, while a bullish outlook from Swiss mining and commodities giant Glencore International also boosted metals prices.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.