After focusing on European markets for the past several sessions, many investors turned their attention back to U.S. markets on Thursday (see Why The Euro Bailout Is Just Delaying The Inevitable). A slew of data releases gave investors plenty to chew on, with disappointing earnings reports sparking a late day sell off. The drama continued to unfold over the oil spill last month, with BP admitting that the firm could have done more to prepare for a deepwater oil leak. Elsewhere, federal prosecutors began a criminal investigation into several Wall Street firms, potentially setting the stage for more Goldman-like lawsuits.
The ETFdb 60 Index declined 6.62 points, or 0.6%, on the day; losers outnumbered winners by more than two-to-one. Trading volume was once again on the high side at 880 million shares.
One of the biggest losers on the day was the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY), which sank 2.2%. Several retail firms reported disappointing first quarter earnings on Thursday; Kohl’s slid 5.8% after releasing weak second quarter and full year guidance, while Urban Outfitters stock lost 6.7% after reporting higher-than-expected expenses. Other retailers also lost ground, with Target and Macy’s sliding lower as well.
A surprising winner on Thursday was the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Copper ETN (JJC), which added 0.9%. Copper, a widely used metal, generally exhibits a relatively strong correlation with equity markets. But prices got a lift on speculation that fiscal austerity in Europe will calm investor nerves and strengthen the global economy (see Six ETFs Impacted By The Greek Chaos). After bottoming near $3 last week, copper has staged a mini-rally; JJC is down about 5% on the year, but has gained 2% over the last week.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.