Investors had plenty to digest today as a slew of economic reports from around the globe dominated the media pipelines. On the homefront, private-sector job growth slowed less than expected in September, while the ISM non-manufacturing purchasing manager’s index, a measure of service-sector activity, unexpectedly rose. Service-sector activity in the Euro Zone however, contracted more in September than in the prior month. But perhaps today’s biggest headlines came from China, as a report on the country’s non-manufacturing activity indicated a slowdown this month, while consumer sentiment declined for a third straight month. Meanwhile, investors continued to remain wary ahead of the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September policy meeting [see 101 ETF Lessons Every Advisor Should Learn].
Despite having a rather volatile trading day, U.S. equities managed to eke out modest gains as better-than-expected economic reports helped overshadow sour data from overseas. Nasdaq came out on top with its gain of 0.49%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) and S&P 500 (SPY) also managed to reverse earlier losses and close in positive territory. In Europe, markets were mostly lower. Weak data from China weighed heavily on Asian equities, forcing Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average to slip 0.5%. Chinese markets were closed again today for a holiday.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasuries ended nearly flat ahead of tomorrow’s release of the Fed minutes and Friday’s highly anticipated jobs report. Yields on 10-year notes remained around 1.62%, while yields on 30-year bonds traded at 2.82% and 5-year yields slipped to 0.61%.
Commodity ETF Roundup
Most commodities were mixed today, with the exception of energy futures, which all ended significantly lower. Concerns over the health of the Chinese economy sent crude oil futures tumbling; the powerhouse nation is expected to represent 10.6% of global crude oil demand this year, and blaring red flags like today’s report weighs heavily on the commodity. For similar reasons, copper prices also fell. Meanwhile, gold and silver eked out small gains.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: USO
The United States Oil Fund (USO) was one of the worst performers today, shedding a whopping 4.14% during the session. After economic reports showed China’s slowing economic growth and the government announced that U.S. crude oil supplies declined by 500,000 barrels last week, this ETF gapped lower at the open, only to tumble lower throughout the day. USO eventually settled near its low of $32.52 a share [see also 25 Ways To Invest In Crude Oil].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: ITB
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) was one of the best performers today, gaining an incredible 4.07% during the session. Bullish momentum continued in the housing industry after home prices were reported earlier this week to have increased. ITB gapped slightly higher at the only, only to skyrocket during mid-morning and afternoon trading hours. The fund eventually settled near its high of $20.27 a share [create customized ETF analysis with the ETF Analyzer].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
Two of the best performing funds from our Precious Metals ETFdb Category so far in 2012 are the E-TRACS UBS Bloomberg CMCI Silver ETN (USV) and the E-TRACS UBS Long Platinum ETN (PTM), which are up 24.94% and 20.29% year-to-date, respectively.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.