It was yet another day of lackluster trading on Wall Street, with stocks posting declines once again. With the first week of 2013′s euphoria quickly wearing off, investors braced themselves for the start of the fourth quarter corporate earnings season. Though many are expecting earnings growth, investors believe it will be quite some time before they see stellar double-digit figures that have been seen over the past few years. In economic news, the National Associations of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index rose for December, while U.S. consumers’ overall borrowing expanded more rapidly in November, exceeding economists’ expectations [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
In another rather uneventful day, all three major U.S. equity indexes landed in negative territory once again. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA, A) took the biggest dip, sliding 0.41%. The S&P 500 (SPY, A) fell 0.32%, while tech-heavy Nasdaq (QQQ, B+) inched 0.23% lower. In Europe, markets were mostly lower after an uptick in euro-zone unemployment overshadowed better-than-expected reports on retail sales and improved consumer and business confidence. Asian equities also sank lower on the heels of sour U.S. trading yesterday. Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index both fell 0.9%
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices rose once again today, forcing yields down to their lowest levels since May. Following better-than-expected demand at a 3-year note government auction, yields on 10-year notes fell 4 basis points, while 30-year bond and 5-year yields slipped 3 basis points.
After several days of lackluster performances, precious metals finally posted positive returns today, with gold and silver gaining about 1% and platinum ticking 1.73% higher. Other commodities were narrowly mixed, though sugar, coffee, cocoa, and natural gas futures took a steep slide today.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IYZ)
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Index Fund (IYZ, B+) was one of the worst performers today, shedding 1.52% during the session. Telecommunications stocks continued their decline today, forcing this ETF to gap slightly lower at the open. IYZ proceeded to free fall during the first two hours of trading, only to slide sideways for the remainder of the day. The fund eventually settled near its low of $24.45 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (ITA)
The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund (ITA, A-) also performed poorly today, shedding 1.40% during the session. Boeing (BA) shares declined 2.63%, weighing heavily on the industrial sector and forcing this ETF to gap lower at the open. After thin trading during the final hours, ITA eventually settled at $69.24 a share [see The Sky Is Falling Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the past week has been the High Tech ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained nearly 2.7%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.