Wall Street seemingly took a breather today from the recent string of record breaking gains, with stocks closing lower after a choppy trading session. Meanwhile, investors kept a close eye on today’s labor report which showed that initial jobless claims declined to 323,000 last week, the lowest level since 2008; analysts were expecting a small uptick to 327,000. In earnings news, Groupon (GRPN) reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and earnings that fell in line with analysts’ forecasts. Tomorrow, investors will be paying close attention to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s commentary at the Chicago Fed Conference [see The Cheapest ETF for Every Investment Objective].
After a choppy trading session , all three major U.S. equity indexes fell to close in negative territory. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) slipped 0.28%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, A-) ended 0.07% lower. The tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A-) was unchanged, though its underlying index slipped 0.12%.
In Europe, markets were mixed after the Bank of England kept its monetary policy unchanged and a Spanish government bond auction generated solid demand. Meanwhile, Asian markets were mostly lower after a report showed that consumer prices in China rose; China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.6%, while Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average slipped 0.7%.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices were higher following a strong auction of 30-year bonds. Yields on 10-year notes fell 2 basis points, while 30-year bond and 5-year notes fell 1.5 and 0.5 basis points, respectively [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Natural gas futures settled higher today even after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported inventory rising 88 billion cubic feet. Crude oil, however, settled lower, while gasoline traded slightly higher. Meanwhile, gold fell roughly 1% as the dollar rose to a four-year high against the yen and rallied against the euro.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (YCS)
The UltraShort Yen Fund (YCS, A) was one of the best performers today, gaining 3.41% during the session. As the U.S. dollar rose above the key threshold of 100 yen for the first time in four years, this -2X ETF gapped slightly higher at the open. YCS jumped during the afternoon hours, eventually settling at $66.76 a share [see Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (XLU)
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU, A) was one of the worst performers today, shedding 1.51% during the session. Utilities shares were among today’s worst performers, forcing this ETF to tumble during the morning hours. XLU fell lower throughout the day, eventually settling at $39.74 a share [see Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing themed strategy over the trailing 1-week period has been the RAFI ETFdb Portfolio, which has gained 3.90%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.