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.
- Markets were mostly down this week, although only slightly.
- U.S. GDP growth for the second quarter came in much lower than expected, 1.2% versus expectations of 2.6%. The figures for the second quarter were also revised down to 0.8% from 1.1%. The downbeat figures pushed the dollar lower and squashed expectations for an interest rate hike in the upcoming period, supporting equities.
- A stress test of European banks conducted by the European Banking Authority revealed that the banking system overall is in a better shape than it was just two years ago, but Italian financial institutions are particularly at risk.
- The Chinese manufacturing PMI delved into contraction territory at 49.9. Analysts had expected the index to show a slight expansion of 50.1.
- In the U.K., manufacturing PMI was well below expansion mode at 48.2, signaling the Brexit vote has already taken a toll on the economic activity.
- To counter the negative effects of Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the Bank of England readily provided new stimulus to the economy by cutting interest rates from 0.50% to 0.25%, and authorizing an expansion of its asset-buying program by 170 billion pound.
- U.S. crude oil inventories rose this week by 1.4 million barrels versus expectations of a 1.6 million fall. On the bright side, gasoline stockpiles dropped 3.3 million barrels, underpinning oil prices.
- On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said the U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs against 185,000 forecasted. The upbeat jobs report confirms the mixed outlook of the American economy.
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Risk Appetite Review
- The broad market is effectively flat for the week, with the S&P 500 (SPY ) falling 0.02%.
- Low Volatility ETF (SPLV ) is down 0.35% since last Thursday.
- The high beta ETF (SPHB ) has again had the best performance of all, jumping 0.49%, confirming investors’ appetite for riskier assets.
Major Index Review
- All major indexes have dropped slightly this week, with the exception of emerging markets and technology stocks.
- Emerging markets (EEM ) have posted the best performance for the week, rising 0.47%, as investors shrugged off concerns about the Chinese economy and the commodity-dependent bloc to focus on the interest rate hike delay by the Federal Reserve.
- Nasdaq 100 (QQQ ) has had the best performance for the rolling month, up 7.52%, as a swathe of technology companies delivered impressive financial results for the last quarter.
- iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA ) has edged down 0.59% for the week, representing the worst performance of the bunch, dragged down primarily by European financial institutions.
- For the rolling month, Dow Jones (DIA ) is the worst performer, with a 2.73% gain.
Foreign Equity Review
- Foreign ETFs were all up for the week, with two exceptions.
- The best performer for the week and the rolling month is Brazil (EWZ ), up 3.34% and 13.14%, respectively, as the upcoming Olympic Games clearly boosted investor optimism about the country’s prospects, despite a fall in oil prices.
- India (EPI ) has dropped 0.84% this week and has risen 3.27% for the rolling month, representing the worst monthly performance of the bunch. India’s market is hovering near one-year highs, but concerns abound about stretched valuations. The Japanese central bank’s disappointing stimulus package proved another headwind, while Bank of England’s rate cut supported equities.
- Germany (EWG ) has had the worst performance for the week, decreasing 0.90%.
- Commodities were mixed for the week.
- Oil (USO ) has had the best weekly performance, up 2.18%, but tumbled the most for the rolling month, 13.30%, on renewed concerns about a supply glut. This week, the oil was helped by encouraging demand figures, with gasoline inventories dropping unexpectedly.
- Copper (JJC ) has fallen 1.90% this week on a report by the largest producer, Chile, that costs for extracting the metal dropped 13%, largely because of efficiencies.
- Silver (SLV ) is the best performer for the rolling month, rising 2.54%, as precious metals continued the bull market following the Brexit vote.
- Currencies were mixed for the week.
- The Japanese yen (FXY ) is again the best performer for the week, soaring 1.76%, after a disappointing stimulus plan from the Bank of Japan and the government, which on Tuesday announced $132 billion in fiscal measures.
- The British pound (FXB ) has dipped the most this week, 0.70%, as Bank of England announced new stimulus measures on Thursday.
- The Australian dollar (FXA ) is the best performer for the rolling month, edging up 1.99%, in spite of Reserve Bank of Australia cutting interest rates by 25 basis points to 1.5%.
- The Euro (FXE ) has dropped the most for the rolling month, 0.27%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.