U.S. equities extended their losing streak today, marking one of the longest slumps for the broad market in almost two months. Once again, positive U.S. data was quickly overshadowed as investors’ focus shifted towards more looming concerns over this quarter’s earnings season and the teetering state of the global economy. A better than expected decline in initial jobless claims did nothing today to help bolster U.S. stocks: the Dow Jones Industrial average fell 0.25%, while the S&P dropped 0.5%, and Nasdaq came in at the bottom of the barrel with its loss of 0.75% [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolio].
The U.S. reported a fall in initial jobless claims of 26,000 for the week ended July 7. Overseas, the island nation of Australia also released its labor market data: the number of employed in Australia dropped by 27,000 in the month of June, the unemployment rate, however, remained unchanged. China was once again in the spotlight today, as New Yaun Loans came in much better than expected. Investors will be keeping a close eye on this powerhouse nation as their GDP is slated to be announced early tomorrow morning. Speculations continue to arise, as many experts believe that a China economic slowdown is already well underway [see also Bullish On India? Buy Gold ETFs].
The State Street SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.43% during the session. Part of the fund’s rally can be attributed to the fact that lenders are notifying delinquent homeowners of their impending foreclose, “a step toward clearing a backlog of properties and helping to accelerate a housing recovery” writes Prashant Gopal. XHB currently maintains a year to date return of 23.11% [see also What Are Options? The Ultimate Beginner's Guide].
The iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (EWY) was one of the worst performers Thursday, shedding 2.32% for the session. Today, South Korea unexpectedly cut its interest rate, forcing this ETF to gap significantly lower at the open. Alongside the decline of Asian equity markets, EWY slid sideways for the rest of the trading day [see also Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
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