U.S. equities broke their four-day winning streak today, finishing slightly lower, but still off their lows earlier in the session. Weighing on the markets were a slew of disappointing economic reports, forcing stocks to trade in negative territory for the majority of the day. Retail sales for March fell 0.4%, well below expectations and marking the biggest monthly decline since June. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment report also missed the mark, coming in at 72.3 as compared to last month’s reading of 78.6; analysts were expecting a slight increase [see Free Member Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
Following today’s disappointing retail and consumer sentiment reports, all two major U.S. equity indexes slipped into negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) gained only 0.1%, as its underlying index finished essentially flat. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) slipped 0.24%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, B+) inched 0.07% lower.
In Europe, markets were mostly lower as Cyprus worries resurfaced; the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.9%. Meanwhile, Asian markets were broadly lower; Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average shed 0.47%, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index inched 0.58% lower.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices were higher today following the worse-than-expected retail sales and consumer sentiment reports. Yields on 10-year notes fell 7 basis points, while yields on 30-year bonds and 5-year notes fell 8 and 4 basis points, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures traded lower today, shedding more than 2% after declines in U.S. retail sales and consumer sentiment, and renewed Cyprus worries put downward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, gold futures plummeted to close $1,500 per ounce, placing it in bear market territory for the first time in nearly 12 years.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (IAU)
The COMEX Gold Trust (IAU, A) was one of the worst performers today, shedding a dismal 4.68% during the session. Gold prices were hammered today after a sour retail sales report and news of Cyprus’ plan to sell bullion hit the street. In response, this ETF gapped significantly lower at the open. IAU traded lower throughout the day, eventually settling at $14.47 a share [see GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (XLE)
The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE, A) also had a weak performance, shedding 1.56% during the session. Energy shares were among today’s worst performers, alongside a broad decline in commodities, forcing this ETF to gap lower at the open. XLE eventually settled at $78.00 a share [see Consumer Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the trailing 13-week period has been the Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 9.82%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.