ETFdb.com analyzes the search patterns of our visitors each week. By sharing these trends with our readers, we hope to provide insights into what the financial world is concerned about and how to position your portfolio.
Mexico has taken first spot on our weekly list this week, as the country’s markets and currency have been heavily influenced by the electoral campaign in the U.S. China ETFs followed, along with the Japanese yen, which appreciated after the Bank of Japan left interest rates unchanged. Meanwhile, biotech stocks and pharmaceuticals are last on the list, drawing attention for their outperformance this week.
Trending Trump Hits Mexico
It must frustrate Mexicans that their currency and stock markets move according to the electoral polls in the neighboring country to the north – the U.S.; but, alas, this is not the only reason Mexico’s markets and currency are heading down. Mexico’s woes have attracted nearly 130% more visitors this past week, as both the stock markets and the peso took a beating last week. For instance, iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW ) fell 0.20% since last Thursday, extending year-to-date losses to more than 4.46%. Meanwhile, the peso has dropped nearly 3% over the past five days against the U.S. dollar, and is down about 13% year-to-date.
One of the chief reasons cited by analysts for the peso’s renewed deterioration is that the American Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has been catching up in polls with his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Trump is still far from beating Clinton, but his anti-immigration rhetoric and his promise to end the free-trade agreement with Mexico has spooked investors. Such a scenario will negatively impact the Mexican economy, given that the U.S. is the country’s main trading partner, and is responsible for about 80% of total exports.
However, Trump is not the only one to blame for Mexico’s woes. The peso, for example, began its slide long before the real estate magnate was envisioned as a threat for Mexico’s economy. Falling commodity prices have hit the country’s economy. In the second quarter, the GDP contracted for the first time in three years, falling 0.2%, largely on the back of declining industrial production.
Regular citizens are already feeling the pinch, with many taking to the streets and asking for the resignation of President Enrique Pena Nieto. Among their concerns is Nieto’s recent meeting with Trump.
China: State’s Stabilizing Hand
China ETFs have taken second place on our list with 51% increase in viewership, far behind Mexico. Chinese equities have benefited from a string of positive economic news lately, with industrial output rising 6.3% in August from a year earlier, while retail sales grew 10.6%, likely giving the Chinese Central Bank more leeway in conducting monetary policy. The stock market has picked up as a result, with iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI ) surging 3.11% since last Thursday. Year-to-date, the ETF is up exactly 10%, but is still far from the record levels reached in August 2015.
Trading in Chinese stocks was light before the Bank of Japan issued an update on monetary policy and the U.S. Federal Reserve held interest rates unchanged. Trading in China will be suspended for one week starting October 3 because of national holidays, while two days earlier, the renminbi – which has been experiencing bouts of volatility lately – will join the International Monetary Fund’s basket of reserve currencies. Investors suspected that because of these two events, the government has been intervening to keep markets stable, but the central bank said speculations were not accurate.
Japanese Yen: BoJ Disappoints Bears
The Japanese yen has seen its traffic rise about 49% in the past week, as investors eagerly awaited the Bank of Japan’s decision on monetary policy. The policymakers decided to keep interest rates unchanged at -0.1%, disappointing investors who expected rates to drop to -0.2%. The yen surged about 1.5% against the dollar following the announcement. Guggenheim CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY ) has risen 1.56% since last Thursday, with most of the gains experienced following the BoJ decision on Wednesday. Year-to-date, the yen’s performance has been impressive, up 19.22%.
However, the policymakers implemented some changes to the monetary policy largely designed to target long-term rates instead of short-term ones. The BoJ said it will now adjust the volume of its asset purchases in order to control bond yields in the short-term. Over the long-term, the quantitative easing program will be kept at $780 billion annually. In addition, the target for average maturity of government bonds held has been ditched. The move is seen as a lending hand to financial institutions, which have suffered from low rates. By choosing when to boost its asset purchase program, the central bank could have a bigger influence on long-term rates. Banks usually profit from the spread between short- and long-term rates, and a steepening of the yield curve hurts their profitability.
Biotechnology: Consolidation Mood
Biotech stocks have experienced 40% more visitors this week compared to last, as a string of deals and product approvals caught investors’ attention. These equities were among the best performers over the past week, with iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB ) surging 3.66%. The ETF still remains down about 12% since the beginning of the year.
Recently it emerged that Allergan had bought Tobira Therapeutics for $1.7 billion, the second acquisition in a week. Last Wednesday, the Botox maker announced it had acquired Vitae Pharmaceuticals for $639 million.
Moving to drug approvals, Sarepta Therapeutics said its muscular dystrophy drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prompting a rally in the stock. Meanwhile, Puma Biotechnology announced an important breakthrough in having a breast cancer therapy approved.
Pharmaceutical: Price Gouging in Limelight Again
Pharmaceutical ETFs have seen their viewership rise as much as 29% week-over-week. The sector has been plagued by a series of controversies related to drug price hikes that stirred anger from politicians, including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (PJP ) has dropped 1.28% over the past five days, underperforming the S&P 500, which has risen 1.67% over the same period.
The latest scandal in the pharmaceutical sector revolves around EpiPen’s price increase of a drug by as much as 400%. Clinton previously criticized Mylan and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International for price gouging, with the latter seeing its stock drop like a stone last year.
The Bottom Line
This week, Mexico was on our readers’ minds, as many assets related to the country have underperformed because Donald Trump is trending in polls amid a weakening economy. Asian assets, represented by China and the Japanese yen, are both far behind in the list, but the yen surged this week after the BoJ decided to keep rates unchanged, and tweak policy instead. Lastly, biotech equities have benefited from several drug approvals and consolidation in the sector, while the pharmaceutical industry suffered another blow.
By analyzing how you, our valued readers, search our property each week, we hope to uncover important trends that will help you understand how the market is behaving, so you can fine-tune your investment strategy. At the end of the week, we’ll share these trends, giving you better insight into the relevant market events that will allow you to make more valuable decisions for your portfolio.