Blue-chips rallied once again today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting yet another all-time high, closing at 14,296.24 after briefly crossing over 14,300. Pushing equities higher was a better-than-expected labor report, which showed that private sector employment jumped by 198,000 in February compared to the expected 170,000 uptick. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported that factory orders fell 2% in January, citing weak demand for transportation equipment. In a separate report, weekly mortgage applications also came in above expectations, jumping 14.8% last week to its highest level since mid-January [see Free Member Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
Following several better-than-expected economic reports, only two major U.S. equity indexes managed to close in positive territory today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) logged in a 0.35% gain, as its underlying index rallied to close at a record high of 14,296.24. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.14%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A-) slipped 0.25%.
In Europe, equities were slightly lower after a second reading of the euro zone’s GDP confirmed a 0.6% contraction. The Stoxx Europe 600, however, finished just below its highest level since June of 2008. Meanwhile, Asian equities rallied after Australia’s fourth-quarter GDP growth met expectations. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average jumped 2.1%, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 rose 0.8%, and China’s Shanghai Composite inched 0.9% higher.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices fell once again today on promising economic data, pushing yields on 10-year notes to the highest levels since late February. Yields on 10-year notes and 30-year bonds rose 4 basis points, 5-year note yields rose 3 basis points [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures fell today after the Fed’s Beige Book indicated that economic activity expanded at the same “modest to moderate pace”, leading many to become more optimistic on energy demand. Also putting downward pressure on prices was a U.S. Energy Information Administration report that showed crude supplies climbing by 3.8 million barrels for the week ended March 1. Meanwhile, gold and silver futures were mostly flat as investors piled into surging equities.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IYM)
The Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials Index (IYM, A) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.41% during the session. Leading blue-chips was Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), whose shares rallied 4.1%. As a result, this ETF gapped higher at the open and traded higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $70.52 a share [see Financials Free ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: BRIC
The BRIC ETF BRIC also posted a solid performance today, gaining 1.86% during the session. Shares of Brazil’s energy giant Petrobas (PBR) jumped 15% after the company announced a surprise increase in diesel prices, forcing this ETF to gap significantly higher at the open. BRIC pushed higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $35.51 a share [see BRIC-or-Bust ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing regional strategy over the trailing 4-week period has been the Ex-Europe ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 0.75%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.