Despite better-than-expected economic data on the home front, equity indexes were mixed and investors on Wall Street were reluctant to jump aboard the Dow and help push it through the 13,000 mark. The S&P 500 led the way higher, gaining 0.14% on the day, while the “blue chip” benchmark finished the day off by 0.01%. Although stocks started off the session in a hole, major equity indexes pushed higher throughout the day, putting the pressure on gold prices. Futures contracts for the precious yellow metal just barely finished the day flat, giving up gains in afternoon trading settling near $1,770 an ounce [see ETF Insider: Will Economic Data Derail The Bull Train?].
With no major developments in the Euro zone, investors turned their attention to data releases at home to kick off the week. Investors cheered on the latest pending home sales index figure, which helped to restore confidence in the domestic housing market recovery. The Texas manufacturing index also gave the bulls a reason to run; the latest figure came in at 17.8, which is a considerable improvement from last month’s reading of 15.3. All in all, Monday was a fairly quiet day as many investors are looking forward to Wednesday and the latest U.S. GDP report [see also Channeling Your Inner Buffett With ETFs].
The State Street SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB) was one the strongest performers, gaining 1.63% on the day, bolstered by a better-than-expected housing market data. The pending home sales index for January came in at 2%, which is a robust improvement from last month’s reading of -1.9%. Last Friday’s minor loss in XHB was erased today as the ETF climbed higher, backed by very high trading volumes, although it failed to settle above the psychologically important $20 level as the trading session drew to a close.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was one of the worst performers, shedding 2.95% on the day, as natural gas prices resumed their ongoing longer-term downtrend. Energy commodities across the board were hit on Monday as selling pressures in the futures market took hold; even crude oil took a dip alongside natural gas, slipping down to $107.27 a barrel in the final hour of trading [see King Of Commodity Dividends: ETF Style].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.