Domestic equities broadly got off to a strong start only to fall victim to profit taking pressures in the final hours of trading. Stimulus hopes and employment data paved the way for back-and-forth trading for major equity indexes on the home front; the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to clinch a gain of 0.37% as the closing bell rang , while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 Index both finished the day with minor losses in red territory [see also Jim Rogers Says: Buy Commodities Now, Or You'll Hate Yourself Later].
On the home front, weekly jobless claims came in better-than-expected; 377,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week, beating the estimate of 380,000 as well as the previous reading of 389,000. Nonetheless, profit taking pressures kept a lid on gains after investors fretted over the fact that Chairman Bernanke said the Fed needs a more thorough economic review before pulling the stimulus trigger [see How To Play A Treasury Bubble With ETFs].
The iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (EWY) was one of the best performers, gaining 1.61% on the day. This ETF was bolstered by improved confidence that economic growth in Asia would pick up steam following the announcement of the Chinese interest rate cut. EWY was one of the few ETFs that managed to hold onto gains during an otherwise choppy session for equities; this ETF settled near $53.81 a share and is up close to 3% year-to-date [see also Five ETFs That Will Live Or Die By China].
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was one of the worst performers, shedding a dismal 6.12% on the day. Natural gas futures tanked after the latest inventory report from the U.S. Energy Department. UNG plunged lower as investors fretted over the fact that supplies rose more than expected; the report showed an increase of 62 billion cubic feet, while analysts had largely expected an increase of only 58 billion [see also Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.