Investors were disappointed once again today, as the highly anticipated minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed little promise of more aggressive actions in the future. The hopes of central bankers stepping in to boost the economy have been buoying markets over the past month, providing a false safety net for investors. And as that sense of security quickly faded, stocks reacted in kind, sliding into red territory: the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 0.38%, while the S&P closed virtually unchanged and Nasdaq came out as today’s biggest loser with its loss of 0.49% [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolio].
On the macroecnomic front, the U.S. trade deficit narrowed for the second straight month, falling within expectations at $48.7 billion. The narrowing of the deficit was mostly due to an increase in exports, as well as the fall in oil prices which helped push down imports. Across the Atlantic, the German consumer price index remained unchanged at 1.7% [see also "Random Roger" Debuts Global Alpha & Beta ETF (RRGR)].
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was one of the best performers today, gaining 3.58% during the session. As investors wait for tomorrow’s natural gas storage report, buying pressures increased, causing this ETF to rise along with natural gas futures today. UNG gapped significantly higher at the open, only to surge even higher throughout the day. The fund settled just below its high of $19.51 a share [see also Inside Natural Gas and UNG's Wild Q2].
The Van Eck Market Vectors TR Gold Miners ETF (GDX) was one of the worst performers, shedding 2.10% on the day. As uncertainty surrounding the health of the global economy increased, investors shifted their allocations away from riskier asset classes like commodity producers. Adding to the downward pressure on this ETF was today’s fall of gold prices, which caused GDX to gap lower at open, only to continue its decline throughout the day [see also GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.