Markets straddled the flat line today, dipping in and out of red territory as investors digested a slew of mixed economic data and earnings reports. The Commerce Department reported that orders for long-lasting manufactured goods jumped 9.9% in September, the largest gains since the beginning of 2010. From the Labor Department, the number of Americans filing for jobless benefits fell less-than-expected, yet another red flag for the fragile labor market. Meanwhile, pending home sales inched slightly higher last month, rising only 0.3%, well bellow expectations. In earnings news, Procter & Gamble (PG) reported earnings that exceeded analyst’s forecasts, while Best Buy (BBY) warned that its earnings will be significantly below its year-earlier results [see also Free 7 Simple & Cheap All-ETF Portfolios].
Despite a volatile trading day, all three major U.S. indexes managed to claw their way into positive territory. The S&P 500 (SPY) logged in the highest uptick, with its 0.3% gain. Tech-heavy Nasdaq (QQQ) and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) inched 0.15% and 0.2% higher, respectively. In Europe, markets were mostly higher after the U.K. reported surprisingly strong GDP figures. Asian equities also gained, as Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average surged 1.1% after a news report indicated that the Bank of Japan is considering expanding its stimulus measures. Meanwhile, China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Seng Index gained 0.2%.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices declined today after after unsubstanitated rumors about Fitch Ratings potentially downgrading the U.S. rating circulated around Wall Street. Also weighing heavily on the safe haven was speculation of an expanded Japanese asset-purchasing program and irrational movements in the Japanese yen and German Bund markets.
Commodity ETF Roundup
Lackluster reports on home sales and orders for long-lasting goods sent copper futures further south, as demand worries escalated once again. Natural gas also declined after the Energy Department said inventories rose last week. Meanwhile, platinum ticked higher after Anglo American Platinum Ltd. predicted that supplies may be limited this year because of the South African labor strikes.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: ITB
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) was one of the worst performers today, shedding 1.78% during the session. After pending homes sales came in at 0.3%, well below the expected 2.8%, this ETF took a steep nosedive, only to slide sideways for the remainder of the day. ITB eventually settled just above its low of $20.17 a share [see also Futures Free Commodity ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: GDX
The Van Eck market Vectors TR Gold Miners (GDX) was one of the best performers on the day, gaining 3.06% during an otherwise sour session on Wall Street. This ETF posted a surprisingly positive performance considering that gold futures prices traded sideways for most of the session. After gapping significantly higher at the open, GDX traded flat for the rest of the day, eventually settling just below its high of $51.73 a share [see our GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best performing regional portfolio is our LatAm Centric ETFdb Model Portfolio in the trailing period 13-week period. This strategy is up 10.35%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.