Today was one of the best trading days in recent memory. The Dow rose 1.2%, hitting its highest levels since 2008, while the Nasdaq surged 1.6% to its highest level in 11 years; the S&P 500′s return of 1.5% wasn’t too shabby either. The big day was spurned by a better than expected unemployment report for January, which showed signs of an economic turnaround, though many analysts have warned that we need several more months like this in order to classify ourselves as recovering. On the commodity side of things, gold futures were slaughtered with the price of the precious metal dropping by 1.8% as investors piled into equities. But the losses for gold were oil’s gain, as crude jumped by 1.5% to close out this week [see also Three Reasons Why Gold Is Overvalued].
Many had feared that the rally that 2012 has enjoyed was screeching to halt this week, as a few flat trading days did well to brush aside what had been a strong bull market. But after today’s rally, many are calling for 2012 to finally be the year that our economy rises from the ashes and returns to its prosperous ways. With such a strong trading day, there are a number of assets that turned in notable performances across the board. In an effort to keep investors up to date with today’s hectic markets, we outline two of the biggest ETF movers on this week-ending trading session [see also The Ten Commandments of Commodity Investing].
One of the biggest ETF gainers came from the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY), which tacked on 2.1% Friday. This ETF tracks a number of U.S.-based companies that are classified as discretionary firms, with top holdings coming from McDonald’s and Walt Disney Company. XLY’s big day came in lieu of the massive jobs report, as unemployment was reported at 8.3% with 243,000 jobs added last month. That puts unemployment to its lowest rate in three years, certainly a cause for celebration on the Street. Today’s gains put XLY up over 8% on for the year [see also Beyond XLY: Considering Consumer Discretionary ETFs].
One of the biggest ETF losers was the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX), which surrendered a painful 5.3%. VXX has been making headlines as of late for its crippling losses; just as fast as it rose to stardom last year with jaw-dropping returns, it is giving it all back under these strong market conditions. Already on the year this product has lost more than 32%, making it one of the worst performing funds for the respective time period. VXX’s woes today came from strong markets, as the fund will always fall prey to a bullish day on the Street. The ETF, which is primarily a trading instrument, saw its volume top 24.5 million for the day; the trailing month has seen it average just 15.8 million per day [see also Five New Features on ETFdb.com].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.