Equity markets got a boost on Monday after Friday’s jobs report lived up to the hype, sending the Dow near the key 11,000 level. Investor focus now turns to an upcoming earnings season and Federal Reserve meetings, likely to be carefully scrutinized in coming months. Apple stock got a lift after the company said it sold about 300,000 iPads on the first day the product was available.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through ETFs, climbed 5.65 points, or 0.5%, to close at 1,062.48, the highest level of the year. Trading was relatively light following the Easter weekend, with aggregate volume of just over 500 million shares.
The biggest winner on Monday entered the day as one of 2010′s biggest losers. The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) lost more than 20% last month, hitting new lows repeatedly in the process (see How UNG Lost 20% In March). But the fund got a boost on Monday from a combination of strong economic data and word that the Energy Information Administration planned to dramatically alter the way it collects and reports natural gas production data. The move was driven by increasingly strong evidence that the current methodology has been grossly overstating production data, one of the causes for steep declines in natural gas prices over the last year. UNG picked up about 5.1% on Monday, one of its best days of the year.
Losing ground on Monday was the iPath S&P 500 CBOE Volatility Index ETN (VXX), which slid 3.8% as traders returned to Wall Street for the first time following Friday’s key jobs report. Government data showed that the U.S. economy has begun adding jobs once again, reducing investor anxiety over the likelihood of a rocky economic road ahead. VXX is now off more than 40% on the year, the result of both a slide in the VIX and steep contango in futures markets (see Three ETFs That Could Be Crushed By Contango).
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.