Following a three-day Presidents Day holiday weekend, bullish momentum reemerged on Wall Street as continued reports of corporate deal-making bolstered investor confidence. On the M&A front, shares of OfficeMax (OMX) and OfficeDepot (ODP) rallied after news that the two companies are reportedly in advanced talks to merge in a stock-for-stock deal hit the street. No major domestic economic news was reported today, though the German ZEW survey’s economic expectations index for February came in better-than-expected [Be sure to check out the real estate news, trends, tips and tricks over at Dividend.com].
With rising optimism for more M&A deals, all three major U.S. equity indexes closed in positive territory today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) logged in a 0.37% gain, as its underlying index finished above the psychologically-important 14,000 level. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.75%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A) jumped 0.72%.
In Europe, markets were mostly higher, bolstered by a better-than-expected reading of the German ZEW survey’s economic expectations index for February. Following the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, Chinese equities took a significant tumble on worries that China’s government would take steps to raise property prices; China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.6%. Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.3% after the G20 meeting over the weekend did not mention Japan’s recent currency devaluations.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices fell today ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee’s minutes release Wednesday and after data indicated that home-builder sentiment was weaker than expected. Yields on 10-year notes hit a 10-month high after rising 2 basis points, while 5-year notes and 30-year bond yields rose 2 and 3 basis points, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Commodities were mixed across the board today. In energy, U.S. crude futures were slightly higher after a seesaw trading day as the front-month March contract approached its expiration on Wednesday. Prices for natural gas were also higher, while Brent crude and RBOB gasoline slipped. In precious metal news, gold fell near a six-month low, but held above the key $1,600 level.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (SCIF)
The India Small-Cap Index ETF (SCIF, C+) was one of the best performers today, gaining a whopping 3.69% during the session. As investors jumped back into riskier corners of the market, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open. SCIF ticked higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $10.39 a share [see BRIC-or-Bust ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (EWG)
The MSCI Germany Index Fund (EWG, B) also posted a solid performance today, gaining 2.09% during the session. Following today’s better-than-expected reading of the German ZEW survey’s economic expectations index, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open. EWG traded in a narrow range for the rest of the day, eventually settling at $25.36 a share [see Global Titans ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the trailing 13-week period has been the High Tech ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 15.42%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.