Equity markets trended higher in Tuesday trading after solid earnings reports boosted major indexes. Among today’s biggest winners were industrial equipment maker Illinois Tool Works and Harley-Davidson, which both rose after strong earnings reports. Meanwhile in the financial sector, Marshall and Ilsley boosted regional banks while Goldman Sachs reported a first quarter profit that was double that of last year. This news helped to balance out the cloud hanging over the Wall Street giant following fraud allegations from the SEC. In addition to strength in equity markets, oil reversed its recent downturn to finish the day just under $83 per barrel.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through exchange-traded products, added 6.39 points, or 0.6%, to reclaim much of the ground lost during the previous two sessions. Aggregate trading volume was more moderate on Tuesday at approximately 650 million shares.
Among the day’s biggest winners were Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE), which finished the day ahead by just under 2%. This came after crude oil broke its three day losing streak which helped to propel energy giants Exxon and Chevron higher by more than 1% each. Investors cited the return of air travel to much of Europe as the catalyst for today’s oil spike, as jets resume operations after the volcanic eruption on Iceland shut down air travel for almost a week across much of Northern Europe.
The solid performance helped to calm investor nerves after two rocky sessions, which sent the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) lower by 5.8% in Tuesday trading. The general level of fear that was present in the market late on Friday has generally dissipated as stocks have continued their now year-old bull market run. Today, four stocks rose for every decliner and the gains piled on at the end of the day in which the Dow gained 100 points in the final two hours of trading. This bullish sentiment has had a devastating effect on VXX; the ETN is down close to 47% on the year.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.