Equity markets remained flat for much of the day before sinking in the final hour of trading to finish down slightly on the day. Commodity markets rebounded after their recent slump, as oil surged higher to push past the $71/bbl. mark and gold finished just under $1,200/oz. Among the biggest winners on the day were financials and large manufacturing companies, which soared on multiple strong government reports. Financials were buoyed on news that congressional leaders signaled they wouldn’t push for banks to spin off their trading desks as part of financial reform. Industrials benefited from a report indicating that orders for big-ticket manufactured goods rose 2.9% last month. It was the biggest jump in three months and more than double the gain economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast. However, these bullish reports were outweighed by continued negative sentiment regarding conditions in Europe, which helped to sink markets late in the day.
The ETFdb 60 Index once again dipped slightly on the day, losing 2.31 points, or 0.2%. Activity was once again heavy, with aggregate trading volume of 1.2 billion on the day.
Among the biggest winners in the ETFdb 60 was the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG), which rose by 1.1% in Wednesday trading. This increase came after traders bought up futures to close out positions ahead of today’s June contract expiration. Prices were also boosted by warmer than normal temperatures and encouraging levels of industrial production, both of which could increase demand for natural gas (see UNG’s technical analysis page).
One of the biggest losers in the index was iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX), which sank by 2% on the day. This came after the S&P 500 stayed rangebound for most of the day–within a modest 35 point range–and finished lower by just 6 points. Despite the drop, VXX is up 6.5% over the past week and 51% over the past four weeks (see more charts of VXX here).
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.