In yet another choppy trading session, stocks wiped out most of the day’s earlier losses to finish flat as investors remained reluctant to jump in. With no new domestic economic reports today, investors shifted their focus to corporate earnings; media giants Walt Disney (DIS) and Time Warner (TWX) both posted Q4 earnings that exceeded analysts expectations, while Expedia (EXPE) and Aflac (AFL) reported less than stellar year-end results. Despite several other seemingly positive earnings reports, investors still remained cautious as lingering worries over political instability in Spain and Italy came to the forefront [Be sure to check out the real estate news, trends, tips and tricks over at Dividend.com].
Wiping out most of the session’s earlier losses, only two major U.S. equity indexes managed to close in positive territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) logged in a meager 0.14% gain, led by gains in telecom and utilities stocks. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.07%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) slid 0.33%. In Europe, markets were mostly lower on lingering worries over political instability in Italy and Spain, which overshadowed better-than-expected German data. Asian equities, however, were broadly higher after the yen fell sharply against the dollar following the announcement of Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa offering to step down three weeks before the end of his term. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rallied 3.8%, while China’s Shanghai Composite inched 0.1% higher.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices were mostly higher today as ongoing uncertainty surrounding Italian politics had investors piling into their favorite safe havens. Yields on 10-year notes fell 4 basis points, while 30-year bond and 5-year note yields declined 3 basis points [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Broad declines were seen across almost all commodities today on a rebounding dollar. U.S. crude futures ended slightly lower after a report indicated an increase in inventory levels, while abundant supplies in raw sugar and arabica coffee weighed heavily on the soft commodities.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (DXJ)
The Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ, B) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.48% during the session. After Bank of Japan Gov. Masaaki Shirakawa offered to step down three weeks before the end of his term, this currency-hedged ETF gapped higher at the open. With an exception of a quick mid-afternoon dip, DXJ rallied throughout the day, eventually settling near its high of $41.18 a share [see Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (GUR)
The SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (GUR, B+) was one of the weaker performers today, shedding 1.01% during the session. Amidst continuing euro zone political uncertainty, this ETF gapped significantly lower at the open. With investors staying clear of riskier European equities, GUR slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $44.24 a share [see Euro Free Europe Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the trailing one-week period has been the The Sky Is Falling Portfolio, which has gained 0.65%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.