For a second day in a row, U.S. equities slumped as a slew of lackluster first quarter earnings reports hit the street. On the earnings front, Morgan Stanley (MS) reported disappointing bond-trading results, while UnitedHealth Group (UNH) also missed the marks on revenue expectations, but slightly beat analysts’ earnings forecasts. Telecom company Verizon Communications (VZ) also posted revenue that came in shy of analyst estimates, but managed to beat earnings expectations. In economic news, jobless benefits rose for the forth time in five weeks, while the Federal Reserve of Philadelphia’s index of general business activity slowed in April [see Free Member Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
Following today’s disappointing earnings and economic reports, all three major U.S. equity indexes fell into negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) slid 0.53%, as its underlying index slumped 81.45 points. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) fell 0.63%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) lost 1.39%.
In Europe, markets finished flat, while Germany’s DAX lost 0.4%. Meanwhile, Asian markets were mixed; Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average shed 1.2%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2% after a report showed foreign direct investment flows into the country rising.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices remained essentially flat, while prices for Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) plummeted. Yields on 5-year notes settled at 0.687%, while yields on 30-year bonds and 10-year notes slid 1 basis point [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Gold futures settled at their highest level of the week, as disappointing U.S. data had investors returning to the safe haven. Meanwhile, natural gas futures rallied 4% after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a smaller-than-expected increase in weekly U.S. supplies. Crude oil rebounded, settling above $88 a barrel.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IHF)
The Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Providers Index Fund (IHF, B+) was one of the worst performers today, shedding 1.80% during the session. After UnitedHealth Group (UNH) reported revenues that fell below expectations, this ETF gapped significantly lower at the open. IHF slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $75.62 a share [see Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (XLK)
The Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK, A) also posted a weak performance today, shedding 1.05% during the session. Technology shares fell today ahead of several bellwether earnings reports from IBM (IBM), Microsoft (MSFT), and Google (GOOG) slated to be released after the closing bell. As a result, this ETF traded lower throughout the day, eventually settling at $29.31 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy over the trailing 3-year period has been the 30 Years Til Retirement Portfolio, which has gained 32.36%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.