Mid Day Roundup: Stocks Floating On Hope

by on June 19, 2012 | ETFs Mentioned:

U.S. equities picked up the pace this morning, surging ahead after yesterday’s mixed close. Materials and financials pushed stocks higher, as J.P. Morgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon addressed the House Financial Services Committee today. Although many remain wary of the alarming rise in Spanish yields, investors continue to hold onto optimism as they wait for tomorrow’s highly anticipated FOMC meeting. With investors relying on their belief of the elusive QE3 becoming a reality in the near future, equity markets continue to maintain their ground [see also Should You Buy Gold Before QE3 Is Announced?]. 

On the homefront, U.S. housing starts fell 4.8% in the month of May, significantly lower than the 720,000 economists were predicting. Despite the slowdown, construction in April was revised higher, marking the fastest rate since 2008. U.S. permits, however, surged well above expectations, rising 7.9% compared to the predicted 1.0% increase. The jump in permits for future construction exemplifies the industry’s slow road to recovery and its relative strength amidst the recent economic slowdown  [see also 101 ETF Lessons Every Financial Advisor Should Learn].

Below we outline one ETF that has been impacted by today’s major headlines:

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB)

Although U.S. housing starts came in worse than expected for the month of May, this ETF was bolstered by the surge in building permits, which rose to its highest level since 2008. ITB gapped higher at open, only to surge higher throughout mid morning trading hours. ITB is currently up 1.88% (as of 11:43 AM June 19, 2012). The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF and the PowerShares Dynamic Building & Construction Portfolio, XHB and PKB, are also up on the day at the time of writing.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing