U.S. equities strike back. Strong corporate earnings coupled with continued hopes of a central bank safety net swooping in pushed stocks skyward, erasing all of this month’s losses. Today’s rally was a breath of fresh air on Wall Street, as global economic concerns and looming uncertainty over the U.S.’s growth seemed to have overshadowed the majority of the headlines over the past few weeks. Fueled by a slew of strong earnings reports, including those from bellwether stocks, all three major U.S. stock indexes pushed into positive territory for July: the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.81%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.67% and Nasdaq came out on top with its 1.12% gain [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolio].
In corporate news, the world’s largest internet marketplace EBay reported better than expected earnings growth, posting a 23% increase in revenues. Computer giant IBM also surpassed expectations, raising its earnings forecast after their second quarter profit rose above estimates. And lastly, Bank of America (BAC) surprisingly beat expectations, posting a decent profit for their Q2. On the macroeconomic front, the UK reported a slight decrease in jobless claims, however the number came in much higher than what analysts had forecasted. Also today, investors once again watched Bernanke testify before congress: the Fed chairman told lawmakers that it was “certainly possible” the central bank could step in to boost economic growth, while at the same time emphasizing that there is a need for “other” government intervention [see ETF Technical Trading FAQ].
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was one of the best performers today, gaining an incredible 5.56% during the session. Weather reports forecasting the continuation of scorching temperatures through the end of the month pushed natural gas prices skyward. UNG gapped significantly higher at open, only to charge higher throughout the day. The fund settled just below its high of $20.28 a share as the closing bell rang [see also What Is Brent Oil? The Ultimate Beginner's Guide].
The Van Eck Market Vectors TR Gold Miners ETF (GDX) was one of the worst performers, shedding 1.39% on the day. Alongside gold’s lackluster performance today, this ETF gapped significantly lower at the open, only to slide sideways with a downward bias for the rest of the trading session [see also Why Buffett Is Dead Wrong On Gold].
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