To help investors keep up with the markets, we present our ETF Scorecard. The Scorecard takes a step back and looks at how various asset classes across the globe are performing. The weekly performance is from last Friday’s open to this week’s Thursday close.
- The two-day meeting in Mar-a-Lago between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping dominated the headlines this week. The two leaders agreed on drawing a 100-day plan with the goal of shrinking the $370 billion trade deficit between the two countries. Investors breathed a sigh of relief when they realized a trade war was averted, at least for now. China also appeared ready to cooperate with the U.S. on the North Korean threat. Trump later praised the nation for turning back coal ships from the maverick country.
- The U.S. economy added as little as 98,000 jobs in March, considerably below 175,000 predicted by pundits. However, the figure was enough for the unemployment rate to fall to 4.5% from 4.7% in the previous month. Average hourly earnings also slightly disappointed, rising by 0.2% against estimates of 0.3%. The participation level stood still at 63%.
- U.S. job openings rose 2.1% in February to 5.7 million, representing the highest level since July.
- U.S. crude oil inventories dropped 2.2 million barrels for the week ending April 7, the steepest drop this year and only the second.
- U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 10 billion cubic feet for the week ending April 7, more than the 9 billion predicted by analysts.
- U.S. import prices fell 0.2% month-over-month in March, while export prices rose by the same amount. Year-over-year, import prices were up 4.2% in March and export prices increased 3.6%.
- U.S. jobless claims came in at 234,000 in the week of April 8, pleasantly surprising analysts, who had expected a showing of 243,000.
- The U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) fell 0.1%, lower than estimates of 0%.
- China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) accelerated to 0.9% year-on-year in March from 0.8% in the previous month, while the PPI rose 7.6%.
- Britain’s CPI remained at elevated levels in March at 2.3%. Analysts predicted a slight fall to 2.2%.
Risk Appetite Review
- The broad market (SPY ) was down 1.12% this week, after two weeks of consecutive increases.
- High Beta (SPHB ) dropped the most from the pack, posting a negative 2.30% performance.
- As expected, Low Volatility (SPLV ) was the best performer, falling 0.60%.
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Major Index Review
- Global equities were all down this week.
- iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA ), an index containing stocks from Europe, Australasia and the Far East, was the best performer, falling just 0.26%.
- Emerging markets (EEM ) posted the best performance over the rolling month, up 1.87%.
- The technology index (QQQ ) slumped 1.20%, correcting weeks of gains, while the Dow Jones (DIA ) was the worst performer for the rolling month, down 2.01%.
- To see how these indices performed last week, check out ETF Scorecard: April 7 Edition.
Foreign Equity Review
- With the exception of the U.K., foreign equities were all down this week, as geopolitical tensions rose.
- U.K. stocks (EWU ) were the best performing this week, advancing 0.62%.
- For the rolling month, India (EPI ) staged the best gains, rising 3.97%.
- Russia (RSX ) was the worst performer this week, slumping 3.14%, despite improving oil prices. The reason for investor pessimism is the worsening relations with the U.S., as the two sides confront each other in Syria. While Russia is supportive of the current Syrian regime, the U.S. wants to topple it.
- For the rolling month, Brazilian equities (EWZ ) performed the worst, declining 2.77%.
- To find out more about ETFs exposed to particular countries, check our ETF Country Exposure tool. Select a particular country from a world map and get a list of all ETFs tracking your pick.
- Commodities posted a mixed performance this week.
- Oil (USO ) was the king. Crude has risen 2.2% as Saudi Arabia suggested it would extend supply cuts for another six months. Declining stockpiles in the U.S., as well as a production halt at an oilfield in Libya, provided another boost. Oil was also the best performer for the rolling month, advancing more than 10%.
- Copper (JJC ) fell the most for both the week and the rolling month, down 2.21%. Indonesia agreed to allow U.S. miner Freeport McMoRan to temporarily resume exports, while both sides work on a long-term agreement. The news negatively influenced copper prices.
- The Japanese yen (FXY ) surged 1.30% this week, representing the best performance from the pack. The currency is also up 5.28% for the rolling month. Interest in the yen has been rising as the geopolitical picture is deteriorating, Worsening U.S.-Russian relations over the Syrian conflict and nuclear threats from North Korea boosted demand for the safe-haven currency.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ) has corrected some of its recent gains, falling slightly over the past week and 1.02% for the rolling month.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.