Wall Street got off to a rocky start in 2014, with January proving to be the worst month for U.S. equities in more than a year. At the end of the month, the Federal Reserve announced it would cut back further on its stimulus measures, which consequently sent emerging market equities into a tailspin. Emerging markets had already suffered several blows, with currencies of countries including Taiwan, Russia and Turkey taking a steep nosedive. Furthermore, worse-than-expected economic reports from China spooked many investors, putting further downward pressure on global markets. Investors also focused their attention on earnings news in January, as a slew of companies reported quarterly results and guidance [see The Fed Effect: How Monetary Policy Impacts Your ETFs].
On the ETF front, investors saw plenty of action in January, with several new funds hitting the streets. Invesco PowerShares debuted its first-to-market NYSE Century Portfolio (NYCC), which is comprised of companies that have been incorporated in the U.S. for at least 100 years. Van Eck also added to its lineup, launching four new funds that utilize a “quality” screening methodology.
Below, we highlight this month’s best and worst performers (data as of January 31, 2014):