Daily ETF Roundup: Markets On Vacation, Japan Disappoints

by on August 13, 2012 | ETFs Mentioned:

After barely managing to close in positive territory last week, markets seemingly took a breather today, posting modest losses. Adding to the growing list of concerns about the global economy was Japan’s lackluster GDP report, which came in well below expectations. The debt-ridden Greece on the other hand, reported that its GDP contracted by much less than expected. Today was perhaps a reality check for investors, seeing as how no corporate earnings or no new developments in the Euro Zone crisis could help bolster the markets. Instead, investors have been relying on the manufactured hope of the Fed coming in to take more aggressive steps towards stimulating the economy. But with no news on the central bank taking action anytime soon, markets struggled to stay afloat [see also ETF Insider: Flirting With Resistance Is A Risky Game].

Global Market Overview: Markets On Vacation, Japan Disappoints 

Tech-heavy Nasdaq was the only index that managed to eke out a small gain on the day, pushing QQQ up 0.24%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) and S&P 500 (SPY) landed in negative territory, snapping the S&P’s six-day winning streak, its longest rally since December of 2010. Asian markets were broadly lower after Japan’s less than cheery GDP report. Despite the somewhat positive news on Greece’s economy, European markets also ended broadly lower.

Bond ETF Roundup 

U.S. Treasuries rose for a second day on mixed economic data. Today’s uptick shows a modest rise in demand after last week’s trio of lackluster government auctions. In the corporate debt market, renewed interest in high yield junk bonds pushed JNK into positive territory with a slight gain of 0.08%.

Commodity ETF Roundup

Commodities also ended lower across the board today as a weak U.S. dollar put downward pressure on prices. Headline-driven gold drifted in and out of red territory, as no major news reports could give the commodity any significant momentum. With the summer quickly coming to a close, natural gas demand declined once again, pushing the fossil fuel further south.

ETF Chart Of The Day #1: DBA

The Invesco PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DBA) was one of the worst performers of the day, shedding 1.37% on the session. While soybean and corn futures plummeted today, this ETF gapped significantly lower at the open, only to slide sideways throughout the rest of the trading day. Despite today’s loss, DBA is still up 3.67% year to date [see also Bernanke's Hints Could Send Commodities Soaring].

ETF Chart Of The Day #2: VXX

The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) also had rough session today, sliding 2.54% on the day. Despite ongoing concerns of stagnating global economic growth, volatility has remained at relatively low levels. As the VIX dropped below the 14 level today, this ETF fell lower after a brief mid-morning rally, eventually settling at its low of $11.13 a share [see ETF Technical Trading FAQ].

ETF Fun Fact Of The Day

U.S. large caps as represented by SPY have gained 12.8% this year, while U.S. small caps as represented by IJR have gained only 9.33% on the year.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.