Wall Street got off to a relatively positive start last week even as rising concerns over the conflict in Syria weighed heavily on the markets. Last Wednesday, the Senate approved President Obama’s request to strike Syria, bringing the U.S. one step closer to military intervention. On the economic front, the Federal Reserve’s “beige book” showed the U.S. economy growing at a “modest to moderate” pace in July and August, fueled by consumer spending on housing and cars [see The Best (And Worst) Performing ETFs For Every Quarter].
In U.S. labor news, initial jobless claims fell to 323,000, slightly below the expected 333,000, while Automatic Data Processing and Moody’s Analytics reported that 176,000 new private-sector jobs were created in August. U.S. nonfarm payrolls expanded 169,000–below the 175,000 estimate–though the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.3% from 7.4%. This week, investors will once again see a slew of economic reports. Below, we outline three ETFs that should see a fair amount of activity during the week ahead:
1. MSCI New Zealand Capped ETF (ENZL, A-)
Why ENZL Will Be In Focus: This fund is designed to reflect the performance of the New Zealand equity market, making it the only exchange-traded product of its kind. ENZL’s focus will come on Wednesday when the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is expected to announce its rate decision. While the rate is expected to stay the same at 2.50%, investors should pay close attention to any commentary made by the central bank in its press conference [see Single Country ETFs: Everything Investors Need To Know].
2. MSCI Australia ETF (EWA, B+)
Why EWA Will Be In Focus: This fund offers exposure to the Australian equity market, and it is home to over $1.9 billion in total assets. EWA will come into focus on Thursday as the country releases its latest labor data. Australia’s employment change is expected to come in at 10.2K for August, compared to the previous recording of -10.2K. The unemployment rate is expected to come in slightly higher at 5.8%, versus the previous 5.7% recording.
3. SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT, A)
Why XRT Will Be In Focus: This ETF tracks an index that is comprised of the roughly 100 U.S.-listed, publicly-traded retail companies, a targeted sub-sector of the consumer discretionary space. Investors should keep a close eye on XRT on Friday as advanced retail sales and preliminary consumer sentiment data is reported. Analysts are expecting advance retail sales to come in slightly higher at 0.5% in August, a slight uptick from the previous 0.2% recording. Core retail sales, however, are expected to slip from 0.5% to 0.3%. The University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer confidence is expected to come in at 82.6, a slight increase from the previous 82.1 reading [see also How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.