Investors rang in the new year with plenty of activity in just the first week of trading in 2012. Markets welcomed better than expected U.S. employment data, which showed that job growth accelerated and the unemployment rate dropped lower in the month of December. The positive report helped boost hope for a strengthening labor market amid lingering economic uncertainty for the new year. Despite early gains, equity markets ended slightly lower on Thursday and Friday, but managed to hold onto gains for the entire week. Investors will continue to remain cautious as they get a better picture of where the economy is heading in the new year.
It was a quiet week for the ETF industry, with no new launches for the first week of 2012. After a record-breaking year, investors are anticipating the industry to pick up its pace and introduce a slew of new products to the markets [see Ten New Year's Resolutions For ETF Investors].
Below, we outline three of the best ETF stories from around the web this past week:
The Safest Haven In 2011? at IndexUniverse:
2011 is a year that many investors may wish to forget as markets were plagued by volatile swings and the seemingly never-ending Euro debt crisis. Large cap U.S. equities, particularly defensive, and dividend-paying stocks came out on top last year as the number one safe haven investment choice in the global equities market. In this article, author JD Steinhilber explains what went wrong in 2011 and gives his economic forecast for 2012.
Six Reasons To Avoid Japan In 2012 at Money and Markets:
After seeing plenty of numbers in the red last year, investors are hoping to score some gains in 2012 to make up for their previous losses. Some analysts believe that ETF investors should avoid one category in particular this year if they want to prevent any further losses: Japan. This article, by Ron Rowland, explains why investors should avoid Japan and outlines six reasons why the country’s economy might fall even lower.
How Low Can Gold ETFs Go? at ETF Database:
Despite gold’s coveted status of being investors’ go-to safe haven, the metal took some hits during last years volatile trading environment. Gold endured wild swings leading up to its high of $1,923 an ounce in September, only to have its gains virtually erased the very following day. In this article, author Stoyan Bojinov takes a closer look at the factors affecting the gold market and provides a technical outlook for the metal’s future.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.