Strong labor market data coupled with bullish momentum had the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallying once again to fresh highs; for the first time ever, the blue-chip index closed above 14,300. Bolstering today’s third-straight advance was a better-than-expected labor report, which showed that initial jobless claims came in at 340,00 last week, compared to the expected 350,000. In other economic news, the U.S. trade deficit was $44.45 billion, slightly higher than analyst projections. Fourth-quarter productivity fell 1.9%, while unit labor costs rose 4.6% [see Free Member Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
Following today’s better-than-expected labor report, all three major U.S. equity indexes managed to close in positive territory today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) logged in a 0.21% gain, as its underlying index rallied to close at a record high of 14,329.49. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.18%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) gained 0.26%.
In Europe, equities were slightly lower, though Spanish equities were higher after a government bond auction saw strong demand. Meanwhile, Asian equities were mixed as investors remained cautious ahead of tomorrow’s report on Chinese key trade data; China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 1.0%. Japanese equities, however inched 0.3% higher after the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy unchanged.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices continued their downward trend today, pushing yields on 10-year notes to the highest levels in two weeks as bond traders remained cautious ahead of tomorrow’s nonfarm payrolls report. Yields on 10-year notes rose 5 basis points, while yields on 30-year bonds and 5-year notes rose 4 basis points [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
A weak dollar combined with better-than-expected U.S. data helped crude oil futures climb more than 1% today, as traders became more optimistic on the outlook for energy demand. Prices for natural gas were also higher on the back of a significant drop in last week’s U.S. supplies. Meanwhile, gold futures were mostly flat on encouraging economic data.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (KBE)
The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE, A) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.10% during the session. Financial shares were today’s biggest gainers, allowing this ETF jump during the first two hours of trading. KBE pushed higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $26.75 a share [see Financials Free ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (XOP)
The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP, A) also posted a solid performance today, gaining 2.34% during the session. Alongside a small rally in crude oil futures, this ETF traded higher throughout the day. As volumes peaked during the final hour of trading, XOP closed at $59.94 a share [see Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the trailing 4-week period has been the High Tech ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 2.31%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.