Today was a peculiar day for the markets as indexes got off to a shaky start, but managed to recover their lost ground, while volatility ticked higher amidst the plethora of good news. On the home front, the Nasdaq led the way higher, gaining 0.39% on the day, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lagged behind, posting a 0.05% gain on the day. Greece has reportedly reached an agreement with policymakers overseas, although the deal has not yet been officially finalized [see also February Edition Of ETF Edge Now Available].
Investors at home rejoiced over better-than-expected economic data; jobless claims came in at 358,000, beating analysts’ expectations of 370,000, while wholesale inventories also expanded by 1% after coming in flat last month. In international news, both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank kept their interest rates unchanged at 0.50% and 1.00% respectively. Gold’s price action on the day was volatile as investors digested news surrounding the pending Greek bailout. The precious yellow metal soared as high as $1,755 an ounce in early morning trading, although selling pressures prevailed throughout the day and futures prices settled near $1,730 an ounce as the trading session drew to a close [see Are Gold ETFs The Best Defense Against Euro Drama?].
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one the strongest performers, gaining 4.86% on the day. It’s very surprising to see volatility tick higher on a day stacked with encouraging news on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. Uncertainty returned to the markets as Greek woes appear to be approaching a climax, although it certainly didn’t inspire any noteworthy selling pressures on Wall Street [see also Low Volatility ETFdb Portfolio].
The PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DBA) was one of the worst performers, shedding 0.79% on the day. Agricultural commodities across the board were in red territory; oat and wheat led the way lower, losing 3.5% and 2.4% respectively on the day. Encouraging developments from the Euro zone did not help this corner of the market as investors instead jumped ship to stocks. The U.S. dollar also inched higher throughout the trading session which further pressured commodity prices lower.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.