Bearish pressures took hold of Wall Street on Tuesday as investors broadly pulled the sell trigger following the latest FOMC meeting. The Fed minutes revealed that central bank members “generally agreed that the economic outlook, while a bit stronger overall, was broadly similar to that at the time of their January meeting”. Equity markets were hoping for hints of additional quantitative easing, which inevitably led to a sell-off after the Fed made no such suggestions [see also 3 ETFs For The End Of Operation Twist].
Profit taking quickly followed the FOMC meeting; the Dow Jones Industrial Average led the way lower, shedding 0.49% on the day, while the Nasdaq proved most resilient, losing only 0.20% as the trading session drew to a close. In other economic news, domestic factory orders came in at 1.3%; this figure was well above last month’s reading of negative 1.1%, but ultimately fell short of analyst estimates of 1.5%. In international news, the Euro zone producer price index came in at 3.6%, a slight down-tick from last month’s reading of 3.8% [see also 3 ETF Trades For The Next Euro Zone Debt Crisis].
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the few products in green territory, gaining 1.85% on the day. A wave of uncertainty swept over Wall Street after Fed Chairman Bernanke made no hints of more stimulus to come, leading many to worry that the recovery would not sustain itself without additional quantitative easing.
The Van Eck Market Vectors Gold Miners (GDX) was one of the worst performing ETFs, dropping 3.25% on the day. GDX followed gold prices lower as the FOMC minutes put a dent in precious metals across the board. Futures prices for the yellow metal sank as low as $1,640 an ounce; safe haven demand and inflation worries cooled off as the Fed made no mention of an additional round of stimulus. After today’s sell-off, GDX is down 5% from a year-to-date perspective [see also GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.