Daily ETF Roundup: DBB Slides On Copper’s Weakness, XLU Rises On Exelon Strength

by on March 9, 2011 | ETFs Mentioned:

Despite a reasonably strong start to the day, American equity markets finished the day slightly below where they started. The Dow was off by a single point while the S&P 500 finished down by 0.1% and the Nasdaq slumped by 0.5% as broad weakness in the semiconductor segment helped to make the tech-heavy index the main loser on the day. Commodity markets were more or less flat on the day as well as oil continued its recent slide, posting losses of close to 70 cents a barrel while gold gained about $2/oz. Less famous commodities also were mixed as most livestock products surged but grains and softs were down virtually across the board.

One of the biggest ETF winners on the day was the Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) which rose by 1.0% in the session. Today’s gains were largely fueled by a few strong days from some of the fund’s top holdings including Exelon, which rose by 3.2% on the day. The company makes up slightly more than 7% of the fund and is a leading provider of nuclear power, so the company hasn’t been as impacted by the oil spike as some of its hydrocarbon focused peers in the industry. The move to the upside comes also comes as investors continue to cycle into safer equities and shun riskier securities such as technology and pharma stocks, benefiting the utility sector across the board [see holdings of XLU here].

One of the biggest losers in the ETFdb 60 was the PowerShares DB Base Metals Fund (DBB) which tumbled by 2.9% on the day. Today’s losses were the result of copper’s continued slump as the red metal lost another 3% on the day thanks to continued fears over crude’s elevated price and its impact on growth. Meanwhile, fellow basic metals zinc and lead also suffered similar losses on the day as these concerns spread across the sector. “With U.S. copper significantly above $4 a lb, it questions that its recovery might be running its course with high oil. It’s the perception that oil could slow down the world’s recovery is causing the market to be on the defensive,” said Adam Klopfenstein, senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock [see charts of DBB here].

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.