After a lackluster trading session, U.S. equities finished flat, though the S&P 500 briefly touched a new all-time high. Helping support stocks was a better-than-expected retail sales report; U.S. advanced retail sales came in at 0.1% for the month of April, compared to the expected -0.3% decline. In a separate report, U.S. business inventories came in flat for the month of March; analysts had forecasted a slightly uptick. Meanwhile, investors kept a close eye on a Wall Street Journal report, which stated that the Federal Reserve may be getting ready to slowly scale back its massive bond-buying program [see The Cheapest ETF for Every Investment Objective].
After a lackluster trading session , only two major U.S. equity indexes managed to close in positive territory. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) inched 0.8% higher, as its underlying index briefly hit a new all-time high. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) ended 0.12% lower, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) ended 0.12% higher.
In Europe, markets were lower: the Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.2%, snapping a four-session win streak. Meanwhile, Asian markets were mixed after a report showed that industrial production came in below expectations in China; China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.2%, while Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rose 1.2%.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices were mostly lower following a better-than-expected retail sales report. Yields on 10-year notes rose 3 basis points, while 30-year bond rose 4 basis points and 5-year note yields were slightly higher [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures traded lower today on a stronger dollar and concerns that the Fed will scale back stimulus measures. News of rising oil production from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also weighed on prices. Meanwhile, gold fell 1% on a stronger dollar and better-than-expected U.S. retail sales.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IBB)
The Nasdaq Biotechnology Fund (IBB, B+) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.68% during the session. Healthcare and biotech shares were among today’s top performers, forcing this ETF jump during the morning hours. IBB slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $183.04 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (DXJ)
The Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ, B) also posted a strong performance, gaining 1.61% during the session. As Japanese equities rallied and the yen weakened, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open. DXJ inched slightly higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $50.49 a share [see Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy year-to-date has been the Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 18.02%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.