After suffering through the biggest two-day slump of the year, stocks rebounded on corporate earnings news and some better-than-expected economic reports. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) reported a quarterly profit that topped analysts’ expectations, while AIG (AIG) announced it swung to a loss, but posted operating profits in certain segments that exceeded expectations. On the economic front, German business confidence increased significantly more than expected for the month of February. Elsewhere, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard emphasized that the central bank’s stimulus plans will remain in place for quite some time yet [Be sure to check out the real estate news, trends, tips and tricks over at Dividend.com].
Following better-than-expected earnings and economic data, all three major U.S. equity indexes rebounded to close in positive territory today. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) logged in a 0.98% gain, though its underlying index snapped its 7-week win streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) rallied 0.94%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) rose 1.01%.
In Europe, markets were higher after the German business confidence index came in better-than-expected though investors remain weary of the upcoming Italian parliamentary elections next week. Asian equities were mixed, with China’s Shanghai Composite falling 0.5% on concerns that policy makers will implement additional controls on property prices. In Japan, however, the Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.7%.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasuries prices were higher today ahead of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s scheduled testimony to the Senate Banking Committee next week. Yields for 5 and 10-year notes as well as 30-year bonds fell 1 basis point [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Oil futures rose today following a strong reading for German business confidence; prices for natural gas and RBOB gasoline were also higher. Selling pressures remained in the gold market however, with the precious metal settling once again under $1,600.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (TDIV)
The NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index Fund (TDIV, A) was one of the best performers today, gaining 2.02% during the session. Following Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) better-than-expected earnings report, this ETF skyrocketed at the open and held onto its gains for the rest of the day, eventually settling near its high of $20.71 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (FCG)
The ISE-Reserve Natural Gas Index Fund (FCG, C+) also posted a solid performance today, gaining 2.64% during the session. After natural gas producer Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) posted a 55% jump in earnings, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open. FCG inched higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $16.30 a share [see Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy year-to-date has been the Cheapskate Portfolio, which has gained 5.26%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.