The bears strolled through Wall Street yet again as looming uncertainties coupled with fresh worries from the latest Fed minutes paved the way lower for major equity benchmarks. On Wall Street, the Nasdaq led the way lower, shedding 0.68% on the day, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average held its ground best, losing just 0.26% as the closing bell rang. Gold and oil followed stocks lower for another session; futures prices for these two commodities settled near $1,540 an ounce and $92.60 a barrel respectively as the trading session drew to a close [see also 3 ETFs For A Euro Zone Double-Dip].
On the home front, major economic data releases all came in better-than-expected, although bearish pressures still prevailed throughout the day. Housing starts in April surpassed analyst expectations; this figure came in at 717,000 versus the expected 690,000. Industrial production in April grew by 1.1%, marking a modest improvement from last month’s reading of negative 0.6%. Selling pressures followed after the latest Fed minutes, as investors expressed their concerns over the health of the economic recovery at home. Fed officials noted that they want to see a more significant improvement in the economic outlook before looking to make changes to the central bank’s low-rate policy [see also Have Gold ETFs Lost Their Luster?].
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was one of the best performers, gaining an impressive 5.14% on the day. Natural gas futures extended gains for a second day in a row, piercing past the $2.5 level. This bullish price action ahead of tomorrow’s natural gas inventories report suggests that traders are fairly optimistic that the data will show a smaller-than-expected addition to inventories along with rising demand [see also Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
The iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (EWY) was one of the worst performers, shedding 3.45% on the day. With no relevant news taking place overseas to justify today’s sell-off, it’s safe to say that EWY fell on broad-based profit taking pressures as investors have been scaling back on risk all week. From a year-to-date performance perspective, EWY has gained just over 1% [see also Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.