Today was yet another roller coaster ride for markets; equities quickly sold off the previous session’s gains in the morning, only to claw back towards positive territory, then finally tumble into the red yet again at closing. Sour U.S. retail sales data coupled with ongoing Euro Zone worries quickly eroded investors’ confidence in the push towards a global economic recovery; the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 77.42 points or 0.62%, while the S&P 500 fell 0.7%, and Nasdaq settled at the bottom of the barrel with a 0.86% loss [see also 101 ETF Lessons Every Financial Advisor Should Learn].
U.S. retail sales fell yet again in May, slipping 0.2% and prompting the first string of declines in nearly two years. Although this latest report paints a rather grim picture for the consumer discretionary sector, automobile sales were reported to be up 0.8% as Americans bought 1,334,600 new vehicles in the month of May. While investors digest the latest U.S. data, they will continue to keep a close eye on the Euro Zone as the Spanish bailout plan continues to unfold and Greece prepares for its elections this coming weekend [see ETF Technical Trading FAQ].
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the best performers, gaining 5.15% on the day. VXX gapped higher at the start of the trading session only to charge even higher after a slight mid-morning dip. Higher levels of volatility prompted by sour U.S. data and continuing Euro Zone drama bolstered this ETF to close near its high today just shy of $20.93 a share [see The Compelling (And Simple) Case For Low Volatility ETFs].
The State Street SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB) was one of the worst performers, shedding 2.20% on the day. As fear and uncertainty crept back into the markets, this ETF slid lower as investors shied away from riskier asset classes, shifting exposure towards “safer” segments of the market, including U.S. Treasuries [see also 2012 ETFdb Portfolio].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.