Trading on Wall Street finally resumed today, after the destructive path of hurricane Sandy battered the East Coast and forced the New York Stock Exchange to close on Monday and Tuesday. After the longest weather-related shutdown since 1888, markets got off to surprisingly powerful start, but understandably thin trading had stocks trading along the flat line for the remainder of the session, closing out the month of October on a soft note. While some expected markets to make volatile moves today, most were relieved that basic market efficiency helped smooth out this unprecedented event. Trading at Knight Capital Group, however, did not go as smoothly as expected, as power outages forced all trading to halt [see Free 7 Simple & Cheap All-ETF Portfolios].
The S&P 500 (SPY) clawed its way into positive territory, inching a mere 0.02% higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) and tech-heavy Nasdaq (QQQ), however, slipped into the red, shedding 0.08% and 0.39% respectively. Among the laggards were health care tech stocks, while utilities managed to hold gains. Mixed economic data had European markets close in negative territory, as investors digested better-than-expected Germany retail sales, positive consumer spending data in France, as well as grim Euro Zone unemployment numbers. In Asia, equities were mostly higher: Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rallied 1.0%, while China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.3%.
Bond ETF Roundup
In the wake of hurricane Sandy, investors assessed the “superstorm’s” impact and pushed U.S. Treasury prices slightly higher. Weighing heavily on the safe haven, Treasury activity mostly focused on speculations of how much economic damage the storm caused [see also Hunt For Yield: how Do All The High Yielding ETFs Stack Up].
Commodity ETF Roundup
Although U.S. equity exchanges were closed, commodity trading was business as usual, albeit light trading volumes on Monday and Tuesday. As officials and residents surveyed the damage of Superstorm Sandy, the price of lumber and copper ticked higher, as expectations of the costs of rebuilding and repairing the East Coast started to materialize. Also in response to Sandy, gasoline prices closed higher.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: PKB
The Invesco PowerShares Dynamic Build & Construction ETF (PKB) was one of the best performers today, gaining 2.30% during the session. Among today’s biggest gainers were industrial and utilities stocks, like Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW), whose prices rose amid expectations of a sales jump following the destruction of Sandy. As a result, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open, only to slide sideways for the remainder of the session. PKB eventually settled at $16.49 a share [see also Futures Free Commodity ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: PPLT
The ETF Securities Physical Platinum Shares (PPLT) also had a strong performance today, gaining 1.56% during the session. After General Motors (GM) announced today that it sold about 70,000 more vehicles worldwide this quarter, platinum (which is used in automobile catylitic converters) soared, forcing this ETF to gap significantly higher at the open. PPLT traded flat for the rest of the session, eventually settling at $154.45 a share [see also PIMCO Recommends Hard Commodities to Weather Inflation].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
Only four ETFs offer exposure to Ford Motors (F), whose stock surged over 8% after better-than-expected earnings today. The stock receives the largest weighting in the NASDAQ Global Auto Index Fund (CARZ) at 7.22%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.