The bulls dominated Wall Street today, as markets started off the holiday-shortened week with several better-than-expected earnings. DuPont (DD), one of the leading diversified manufacturers, posted fourth-quarter profits that fell less than analyst expected and reported positive earnings forecasts for the second half of the year. Travelers (TRV) reported earnings significantly higher than expectations, surprising many who believed the insurance giant took a major blow from superstorm Sandy. In economic news, sales of previously owned homes fell in December, while manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region contracted this month [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
As investors digested the latest earnings reports, all three major U.S. equity index rallied to close in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) logged in a 0.48% gain on the session as its underlying index rallied to hit its highest level since December of 2007. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.54%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A-) gained 0.16%. In Europe, markets were little changed even after German business confidence data reported higher economic sentiment for the month of January. Following the Bank of Japan’s announcement of new stimulus measures, Asian equities were mostly lower; Japan’s Nikkei Stock Averages slipped 0.4%, while China’s Shanghai Composite fell 0.6%.
Bond ETF Roundup
Reversing earlier losses, U.S. Treasury prices rose today after data showed sales of existing homes contracting 1% in December. Yields on 5 and 10 year notes as well as 30-year bonds rose 1 basis point.
Energy and metal futures rallied today, with gold prices rising above $1,690 following the Bank of Japan’s announcement of new stimulus measures. Crude oil finished above $96 a barrel, natural gas lost some of its steam after an earlier rally on weather-related demand. Prices for sugar, coffee, and cocoa were lower today on reports of supply surpluses.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IAK)
The Dow Jones U.S. Insurance Index Fund (IAK, A-) was one of the best performers today, gaining a whopping 2.05%. Following today’s better-than-earnings report from Travelers (TRV), this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open. IAK rallied throughout the day, eventually settling near its high of $35.41 a share [Be sure to check out the real estate news, trends, tips and tricks over at Dividend.com].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (FXY)
The Rydex CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY, C+) also posted a solid performance today, gaining 1.48% during the session. After the Bank of Japan announced its new bond-buying program, investors were somewhat underwhelmed as many believed the bank would install a more aggressive monetary policy. As a result, the yen strengthened against the dollar, forcing this ETF to gap significantly higher at the open. FXY slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $110.49 a share [see Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the trailing four week period has been the High Tech ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained nearly 6.7%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.