Daily ETF Roundup: VXX Jumps, GDX Slumps

by on March 14, 2012 | ETFs Mentioned:

Stocks oscillated between minor gains and losses on Wednesday following yesterday’s impressive rally on Wall Street. Domestic equity indexes drifted sideways with a bit of a downward bias for most of the trading session as economic news were sparse. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was able to finish in green territory, clinching a 0.12% gain on the day, while the S&P 500 slipped into negative territory, shedding 0.12% as the closing bell rang. The basic materials sector lead the way lower, losing 1.5% on the day, while financials equities were surprisingly resilient, managing to give up just 0.2% amidst the profit-taking. 

Euphoria levels in the domestic tech sector ran high as Apple hit an all-time high of $594.72 a share. The tech giant staged an impressive rally, gaining upwards of 3.5% on the day, thanks to a revised price target; Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty reiterated her “overweight” rating on the stock and lifted her target to $720 a share, although she went onto mention that a best-case bullish scenario could send the stock as high as $960 a share [see also How An Apple Dividend Would Impact ETFs]. Crude oil futures slipped lower on the day, settling near $105.60 a barrel as the trading session drew to a close.

The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the strongest performers, gaining 3.25% on the day. VXX trekked higher alongside the VIX Index which ended the day near the 15.50 mark after soaring to an intra-day high just above 16. Uncertainty returned to the market after worse-than-expected current account data;  the current U.S. account deficit came in at $124 billion versus the previous reading of $108 billion [see Low Volatility ETFdb Portfolio].

The Van Eck Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) was one of the worst performers, shedding 3.82% on the day, pressured lower by profit taking in the materials sector coupled with another down day for the precious yellow metal. Gold futures prices sank for a third day in a row, settling near $1,640 an ounce. After today’s sell-off, GDX is down close to 3% from a year-to-date perspective [see GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio]. 

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.