Mixed economic reports from across the globe combined with rising geopolitical tensions in Ukraine weighed heavily on the markets in March. Investors digested several key political moves this month, with President Obama announcing sanctions against key individuals in Putin’s inner circle, as well as the U.S.’s willingness to impose additional sanctions should Russia not reverse its course. In other macro news, the Fed announced it will pull back to $55 billion from $65 billion for its monthly bond-buying program. The central bank also eliminated the reference to the 6.5% unemployment rate as a threshold to consider raising rates; furthermore, several Fed officials projected that their first increase in interest rates will come in 2015 [see The Fed Effect: How Monetary Policy Impacts Your ETFs].
On the ETF front, investors welcomed several new products, including an “industrial renaissance” ETF, which is designed to invest in companies that are most likely to benefit from the current American industrial renaissance that has been taking shape across the nation. Global X also added to its lineup, introducing two more “Guru” ETFs, which focus on international equities and small caps. Also in March, Cambria launched its third product – the Global Value ETF – which tracks stocks from 45 countries with strong value characteristics.
Below, we highlight this month’s best and worst performers (data as of March 28, 2014):