It was a volatile session on Wall Street today ahead of tomorrow’s highly anticipated U.S. employment report. In economic news, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment benefits declined last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, in line with expectations. A sharp drop in the dollar against the Japanese yen sent equities into a tailspin; stocks did, however, manage to rally in the final hour of trading, sliding into positive territory [see The Cheapest ETF for Every Investment Objective].
Ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. unemployment report, all three major U.S. equity indexes managed to close in positive territory. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.90% after its underlying index briefly dropped below 1,600. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) gained 0.63%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) rose 0.51%.
In Europe, markets were broadly lower after the ECB cut its forecast for the eurozone economy this year. The Stoxx Europe 600 shed 1.2%. Meanwhile, Asian equities fell sharply once again; Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.9%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.3%, posting its sixth straight decline.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices ended higher today following a choppy session ahead of Friday’s key jobs report. Yields on 10-year notes fell two basis points, while 30-year bond and 5-year note yields fell one and 1.5 basis points, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures rallied once again, settling above $94 a barrel for the first time in more than week. In other energy trading, natural gas futures tumbled more than 4% after inventories rose more than expected. Meanwhile, gold jumped 1% as the dollar fell sharply against the yen.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (FXY)
The CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY, C+) was one of the best performers today, gaining 2.13% during the session. As the dollar tumbled against the yen, this ETF skyrocketed during the early afternoon hours. FXY slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $100.88 a share [see Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (XLU)
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU, A) also posted a strong performance today, gaining 1.18% during the session. Defensive sectors were among today’s top performers, allowing this ETF rally during the final hour of trading. XLU settled at $37.74 a share [see Kitchen Sink ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy over the trailing one-year period has been the 30 Years Til Retirement Portfolio, which has gained 23.55%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.