Equity markets trended higher in choppy trading last week, as a brutal Wednesday was erased by a 3% surge in major indexes on Thursday. This upswing led to a 2.3% gain on the week for the S&P 500. Oil markets also trended higher on bullish demand data and worries about diminishing supplies; crude closed around $74/bbl., roughly a $3 gain on the week. However, gold was unable to continue its record run and slumped back towards the $1,225 mark as investors embraced risk and snapped up beaten-down assets, putting aside sovereign debt issues for the time being.
For the upcoming week, more key central banks will be meeting, including Japan and Switzerland, while a variety of highly-anticipated data releases in the U.S. are on the horizon. Also look for shares of BP to be in focus given the talk of the company suspending its dividends in order to pay for the oil spill cleanup. Below, we profile three ETFs that could seen an active week:
iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (TIP)
Why TIP Could Be On The Move: After months of tame inflation readings, signs of rising CPI are emerging; in China inflation is expected to top 3% this year. TIP looks to be in focus as U.S. CPI figures for last month are released on Thursday. Numbers last month were essentially flat and look to remain relatively low for the foreseeable future. However, should inflation jump, look for TIP to dramatically increase in popularity in the coming weeks (see How The Chinese Yuan ETF Could Drive TIP).
iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund (IYT)
Why IYT Could Be On The Move: Federal Express, the largest component of IYT making up at 12% of asstes, posts earnings this week. Analysts are forecasting per share profits of $1.32, up handily from 64 cents a share in the previous year. Investors will be especially focused on FedEx’s guidance for the following year as well as volume levels, which could both be key figures for the rest of the transportation sector. Some analysts, including those at Piper Jaffray, are extremely bullish on FedEx, giving the company a $110 price target, which is a substantial increase from its current price just below $80. Should FedEx manage to live up to these lofty expectations look for IYT to shoot higher in midweek trading (see How To Use ETFs To Invest Like Warren Buffett).
iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund (EZA)
Why EZA Could Be On The Move: As the World Cup gets into full swing, it will be interesting to see how the event impacts the South African economy. Some analysts are predicting that the month long event will pump at least $12 billion into the local economy. But others have tempered expectations and worry that lavish spending on stadiums over more basic needs will pose long-term problems. Analysts should be able to get a full estimation of the impact by the end of the week with special attention given to the mining sector which is under threat of a blackout due to higher electricity needs during the Cup (see holdings of EZA here).
FXE: FXE climbed higher by 1.1% on the week as investors’ fears over sovereign debt crises temporarily declined. This was fueled by a strong bond auction in Spain, which helped to alleviate some short term concerns. Investors also tempered their bearishness after comments from ECB member Juergen Stark that “the domestic savings ratio of the euro zone was far higher than in the Anglo-Saxon world,” better enabling it to finance the deficits it has (see technical analysis of FXE here).
EWN: EWN had a strong week as shares shot higher by more than 5%. This came after a Dutch Parliamentary election as well as the positive comments out of the ECB meeting. The Dutch election results are seen by some as bullish for Dutch equity markets as the pro-business Liberal Party won the most seats. The group, which is known as the VVD, is led by a former Unilever executive and has promised to make more than $54 billion in spending cuts over the next four years in order to continue the country’s spot as one of the strongest economies in Western Europe (see charts of EWN here).
EWZ: As expected, the Bank of Brazil lifted its benchmark rate up to 10.25%, the second 75 basis point increase in a row. EWZ trended higher for much of the week and experienced their largest run-up between Wednesday and Thursday trading in which shares advanced by more than $2.50. This helped to push EWZ to a gain of 4.7% on the week (see holdings of EWZ here).
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Disclosure: Eric is long EWZ.