U.S. equities finished the session narrowly mixed, closing out the rather lackluster month of July. At today’s highly anticipated Fed policy statement, the central bank said it will continue to purchase $85 billion in mortgage and Treasury securities per month. The Fed indicated that modest growth rates, higher mortgage rates and low inflation were the primary factors behind their decision to keep its easy-money policies. In other economic news, the U.S. economic growth rate unexpectedly accelerated in the second quarter with GDP growing at a 1.7% annual rate. In a separate report, private employers added 200,000 jobs in July, beating economists’ expectations [see also The Complete Visual History Of SPY].
Following today’s upbeat economic reports and the Fed’s policy statement, only one major U.S. equity index managed to close in positive territory. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A-) rose 0.11% after its underlying index hit its best level since October of 2000 earlier in the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) fell 0.05%, while the S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) finished 0.07% higher (though its underlying index closed down 0.01%).
In Europe, markets rose for a third straight session following an upbeat reading on unemployment in the eurozone; the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.1%. Meanwhile, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.5% on a stronger yen, and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.2% after the Communist Party said it would keep economic growth steady in the second half of the year.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasuries rose following the Federal Reserve’s policy-setting committee statement. Yields on 10-year notes fell 3 basis points, while 30-year bonds and 5-year note yields fell 4 and 1 basis point, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures traded higher today, settling above $105 a barrel and closing out the month of July up 9%, as better-than-expected U.S. GDP and labor data pushed the commodity higher. In other energy trading, natural gas and gasoline futures traded higher. Meanwhile, gold futures fell 0.9% to settle at $1,312.40 a troy ounce.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IEO)
The U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (IEO, B+) was one of the best performers today, gaining 0.83% during the session. Though Phillips 66 (PSX) reported earnings that were below analyst expectations, shares of the company rallied more than 5%, allowing this ETF to jump higher at the open. IEO eventually settled at $75.05 a share [see Futures Free Commodity ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (IGV)
The North American Tech-Software ETF (IGV, B) also posted a strong performance, gaining 0.87% during the session. After Symantec (SYMC) posted better-than-expected earnings and revenues, this ETF gapped higher at the open. IGV inched higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $73.32 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy year-to-date has been the 30 Years Til Retirement Portfolio, which has gained 10.95%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.