Stock markets had a whirlwind of a day as indexes fluctuated between gains and losses amidst the looming Greek debt negotiations, ultimately closing in shallow green territory. On the home front, the Nasdaq charged ahead, gaining 0.41% on the day, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average just barely pulled off a win, settling 0.04% higher on the day. Crude oil prices were also quite volatile, hitting a high of $100.09 a barrel in the morning, only to settle lower near the $99 level as the trading session drew to a close [see also Doomsday Special: 7 Hard Asset Investments You Can Hold In Your Hand].
With no major economic data releases on the home front today, equity markets took cues from overseas. Switzerland’s unemployment rate came in unchanged at 3.1%, while Germany’s trade balance took a bit of a hit. The trade balance account for the exporting-behemoth came in at 12.9 billion euros, a modest decreases from the previous reading of 15.9 billion. German imports and exports also dropped last month; imports came in at -3.9%, versus the previous reading of -0.2%, while exports contracted by 4.3%, versus the previous reading which showed an expansion of 2.6% [see also Three Long/Short Ideas For Euro Zone Debt Drama].
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the best performers, gaining 2.21% on the day, bolstered by ongoing drama surrounding the Greek debt-deal agreement. Uncertainty was quick to return to the markets as lawmakers overseas remain in a heated negotiation process; Greek politicians are hesitant about accepting the proposed austerity measures, while a plan to pay back the lenders is also still in the works [see our Euro Free Europe ETFdb Portfolio].
The State Street SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) was one of the worst performers, shedding 0.71% on the day, as investors were tempted to take profits in the precious metal ahead of the anticipated Greek debt-deal. Gold prices slipped lower on the day, settling near $1,735 an ounce, while the U.S. dollar remained fairly flat in the currency market; this rather uncharacteristic divergence in performances perhaps suggests that today’s price action in gold was largely influenced by the cloud of uncertainty that remains over the debt burdened currency bloc [see also GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.