U.S. equities rallied once again today after a brief morning slide; the S&P 500 and Nasdaq logged in their sixth-straight month of gains, while the Dow ended higher for the fifth-straight month. Earlier losses came after Pfizer (PFE) posted a disappointing earnings report and the Chicago-area purchasing managers’ index came in lower than expected for April. Pulling stocks back up was a report that showed the employment-cost index fising for the first quarter less than expected, and the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City home-price index coming in higher than expected for February [see What Can You Buy With Apple's Cash?].
To close out the month, all three major U.S. equity indexes managed to close in positive territory. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.24% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A-) gained 0.73%, as both underlying indexes logged in record closes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A) ended 0.11% higher.
In Europe, markets were slightly lower after euro-zone unemployment rose by a record amount; the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.2%. Meanwhile, Asian markets were mixed; Australia’s S&P ASX 200 jumped 1.3% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.2% on a stronger yen. China’s Shanghai Composite was closed for a holiday.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices were slightly higher after the Chicago Purchasing Managers index hit a three-year low. Yields on 10-year notes and 30-year bonds rose roughly 1 basis point. In the corporate arena, Apple (AAPL) launched a $17 billion corporate bond deal [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures fell to settle below $94 a barrel as investor digested today’s slew of economic data; for the month, the fuel has dropped nearly 4%. Gasoline and natural gas futures were also lower. Meanwhile, gold futures traded higher, though for the month the metal has lost 7.8%.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (XLV)
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLK, A) was one of the weakest performers today, shedding 0.75% during the session. Healthcare shares were among today’s worst performers after Pfizer (PFE) posted a disappointing earnings report, forcing this ETF to gap lower at the open. XLV slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $47.33 a share [see Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (VGT)
The Information Tech ETF (VGT, A+) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.13% during the session. After Apple (AAPL) announced the launch of a $17 billion corporate bond deal, this ETF jumped during the early afternoon hours. VGT inched higher throughout the day, eventually settling at $73.29 a share [see High Tech ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy over the trailing 13-week period has been the Low Volatility Portfolio, which has gained 5.39%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.