U.S. equities seemingly took a breather today from last week’s record run, as investor concern over the Fed scaling back its major bond buying program weighed heavily on the markets. Today, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans commented that while the central bank’s stimulus measures have made good progress, officials need “a little more time” before they can be confident that the “substantial’ milestone has been reached. As such, investors will be paying close attention to Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Senate on Wednesday and the release of the latest FOMC minutes [see The Cheapest ETF for Every Investment Objective].
With no major economic data reported today, all three major U.S. equity indexes slipped to close in negative territory. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) settled 0.02% higher, though its underlying index closed down 0.07% on the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) fell 0.08%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) slipped 0.23%.
In Europe, markets turned slightly higher during the final hours of trading: the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.3%. Meanwhile, Asian markets were higher after the Japanese government raised its assessment of the country’s economy; Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average jumped 1.47%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index edged 0.75% higher.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasuries erased most of their earlier gains as bond traders shifted their focus to whether or not the Fed will scale back its bond buying program. Yields on 10-year notes were little changed, while 30-year bond and 5-year note yields rose 1 and 0.5 basis points, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures rose today, extending gains to four sessions, as the U.S. dollar fell. In other energy trading, gasoline futures remained unchanged, while natural gas ended slightly higher. Meanwhile, gold and silver rallied roughly 2% after a volatile trading session.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (DBP)
The DB Precious Metals Fund (DBP, B+) was one of the best performers today, gaining 3.39% during the session. As silver and gold prices rallied, this ETF jumped significantly higher during afternoon trading hours. DBP inched higher for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $46.36 a share [see GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (XLE)
The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE, A) also posted a strong performance today, gaining 1.41% during the session. Energy shares were among today’s top performers, allowing this ETF to rally throughout the morning trading hours. XLE slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $83.28 a share [see Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy over the trailing 4-week period has been the 30 Years Til Retirement Portfolio, which has gained 5.94%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.