U.S. equities ended near session lows after several disappointing economic reports curbed bullish momentum today. The Labor Department reported a surprise uptick in jobless benefits, which posted the biggest one-week increase since November. Meanwhile U.S. building permits topped analysts’ expectations, while housing starts for April declined, posting its weakest reading since November. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s May index of business activity also fell unexpectedly. Investors also paid close attention to Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams comments, which indicated that he is open to the central bank scaling back its bond-buying program in coming months [see The Cheapest ETF for Every Investment Objective].
Following a slew of disappointing economic reports, all three major U.S. equity indexes slid to close in negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) ended 0.22%, after its underlying index briefly hit a fresh all-time high. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) fell 0.46%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) slipped 0.10%.
In Europe, markets ended slightly lower though the euro-zone’s trade surplus was reported to have risen to the highest level since 1999: the Stoxx Europe 600 fell less than 0.1%. Meanwhile, Asian markets were mostly mixed after Japan’s GDP came in at 3.5% versus the expected 2.8% rise; Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rallied to an over five year high but closed down 0.04%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index popped 1.2%.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices traded higher following the slew of weak U.S. economic data. Yields on 10-year notes fell 7 basis points, while 30-year bond and 5-year note yields fell 7.5 and 6 basis points, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures rose once again today, settling above $95 a barrel, as investors digested today’s weak U.S. economic reports. Prices for gasoline were also higher, while natural gas futures ended lower. Meanwhile, gold futures declined for a sixth straight day, settling at $1,386 per ounce.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (XLV)
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV, A) was one of the worst performers today, shedding 1.03% during the session. Healthcare shares were among today’s worst performers, forcing this ETF to tumble during the morning hours. XLV slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $48.82 a share [see Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (IGN)
The S&P North American Technology-Multimedia Networking Index Fund (IGN, B) was one of the best performers today, gaining 2.61% during the session. After Cisco Systems (CSCO) reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open. IGN slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $29.47 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing regional strategy over the trailing 13-week period has been the Global Titans ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 5.04%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.