After a rather uneventful week, markets once again drifted into oblivion, straddling the flat line for most of the day. With little economic data, no corporate earnings, and a lack of headline-worthy news from Europe, trading volume has been razor-thin during this summer season. Analysts expect these depressed levels to continue for a while until there is some kind of a reversal, which some expect to be a rather big move. Investors will likely continue to play defensively until any developments are made, primarily by the Euro Zone and the Fed, and will have to endure the painstakingly boring summer slump [see also ETF Insider: Set Your Stops And Targets Tight].
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) broke its sixth-straight weekly advance today, as the index gave up a mere 5 points, or less than 0.1%. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 (SPY) and Nasdaq (QQQ) also closed slightly lower. European equities slipped after the European Central Bank tried to quell rumors that it was preparing to intervene in sovereign-debt markets. In Asia, markets ended mixed with China’s Shanghai composite losing 0.4% and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average posting a small 0.1% gain.
Bond ETF Roundup
Treasury bonds had a slightly more exciting day than equities, exhibiting wild swings during the session. Today’s volatile price movements were attributed to conflicting reports surrounding the ECB taking aggressive actions to combat the region’s debt crisis. Many investors are saying that today’s volatile session is proof that the ECB will need to develop a more concrete plan to calm investors’ fears.
Commodity ETF Roundup
Commodities were up across the board today, with the exception of oil and copper futures. Platinum continued its rise, gaining for a third straight session as South African mine workers remained off the job on a labor strike. And with the start of this year’s harvest season, corn and soybean futures rose as renewed expectations of reduced yields came to the forefront.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: IEF
The iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund (IEF) had a particularly volatile day today, as rumors surrounding the ECB and its potential actions fueled big swings in U.S. Treasuries. The 10-year bond yield rose in early trading on these rumors, then pared losses after an ECB spokesman claimed the report was misleading. As a result, IEF exhibited several swings throughout the session, but financially settled with a slight gain of just 0.06%.
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: SLV
The iShares’ Silver Trust (SLV) was one of the best performers today, gaining 2.64% on the session. With market turbulence and a weaker U.S. dollar, silver prices rose today, causing this ETF to spike during mid-morning trading hours. SLV rose throughout the day, eventually settling just shy of its high of $27.97 a share [see also Jim Rogers: Silver Is a Better Investment Than Gold].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The ten largest ETFs have combined assets of about $430 billion, representing approximately 37% of the total ETF industry.
Follow me on Twitter @DPylypczak
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.