After much anticipation, Ben Bernanke testified before the Senate Banking Committee today, outlining a rather bleak outlook on the state of U.S. growth and more importantly, revealing no hints of further Fed actions to help boost the economy. Whether it be pure ignorance, disillusionment, or an unwavering hope of an elusive safety net coming to the rescue in the near future, markets seemingly shrugged off the Fed chief’s disappointing comments, rationalizing that at some point central bankers will be forced to step in and take action. And with the backing of several bellwether stocks reporting better than expected earnings, U.S. equities rallied: the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%, while the S&P came out on top with its 0.7% gain and Nasdaq showed a modest increase of 0.5% [see Risk On ETFdb Portfolio Now Available].
On the corporate earnings front, Coca-Cola (KO) and Goldman Sachs (GS) both exceeded analysts’ estimates by a pretty significant margin. Overseas, UK’s consumer price index came in lower than expected at 2.4% for the month of June. German ZEW Survey reported that European economic sentiment increased this month, coming in slightly higher than expected. Investors will continue keeping a close eye on the Fed as chairman Bernanke goes into his second day of testimony to congress tomorrow [see ETF Technical Trading FAQ].
The iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI) was one of the best performers today, gaining 2.25% during the session. Alongside the broad rise in Asian equities today, this ETF gapped higher at the open, only to surge even higher throughout the day. FXI settled just below its high of $33.26 a share [see also Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the worst performers, shedding 3.64% on the day. Increased confidence after three bellwether stocks reported better than expected earnings helped market volatility to cool off, forcing this ETF to turn even lower after Bernanke made no indications of any further stimulus actions [see also Why Buffett Is Dead Wrong On Gold].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.