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.
- This week was rather light in important events, except for perhaps the European Central Bank’s decision on monetary policy. As widely expected, the ECB left interest rates unchanged at 0% along with the monthly €60 billion euros asset-purchase program. Although ECB president Mario Draghi was upbeat about the European economy and lauded the positive impact of the lax monetary policy, he clearly signaled the stimulus would be on hold until well after December, when it’s supposed to end.
- Across the Atlantic, a host of Federal Reserve policymakers indicated the U.S. economy was ready for another hike in March. Last Friday, Chair Janet Yellen reinforced what other policymakers had previously noted, saying a rate increase was a live possibility in mid-March if the economy stayed on track. This flurry of hawkish signals prompted Goldman Sachs to put the chance of a raise at 95%. Meanwhile, CME Group’s FedWatch puts the likelihood of a rate hike at 88.6%.
- U.S. ISM Non-Manufacturing Index stood at 57.6 in February, above estimates of 56.5.
- Baker Hughes North America’s rig count fell by 4 to 1,091, with Canada particularly hit. In the U.S., the number of newly opened rigs increased to 756 from 754 previously.
- The U.S. trade deficit widened to $48.5 billion in January from $44.3 billion in the prior month, in line with expectations.
- U.S. factory orders rose to 1.2% in January, trumping consensus estimates of 1.1%.
- ADP said the U.S. economy added 298,000 jobs in February, a blockbuster figure. Although this index has failed to accurately predict the official numbers, which will be available Friday.
- Crude oil inventories in the U.S. were up 8.2 million barrels for the week ended March 3, marking the ninth consecutive week of increases.
- U.S. jobless claims came in slightly worse than expected at 243,000 for the week ended March 4, 20,000 more compared to last week.
- U.S. import prices rose 0.2% in February, in line with estimates. In the previous month, import prices advanced a revised 0.6%. Export prices increased 0.3% in February compared to the prior month. Year-on-year, import prices surged 4.6%, while export prices were up 3.1%.
- Chinese CPI was up 0.8% in February year-over-year, considerably lower than estimates of 1.9%, largely because food prices fell in the aftermath of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
Risk Appetite Review
- The broad market (SPY ) has dropped 0.55% since last Thursday, representing the best performance from the bunch.
- High Beta ETF (SPHB ) was the worst performer, registering a fall of 2.1%.
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Major Index Review
- Global equities took a break this past week from their month-long rally, with most of them posting small losses.
- The technology index (QQQ ) was the single riser, advancing just 0.15%.
- Dow Jones (DIA ) was King for the rolling month, up 3.87%. The Trump rally may have reached its end, as investors await concrete actions from the U.S. government before resuming their buying activity.
- iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM ) was the worst performer, falling 2.48%. The Federal Reserve has signaled it will increase interest rates at its next meeting in mid-March, likely disappointing equity investors. The index is the only loser for the rolling month, down 0.34%.
- To see how these indices performed last week, check out ETF Scorecard: March 3 Edition.
Foreign Equity Review
- Foreign equities were all down with one exception.
- India (EPI ) proved to be the only safe haven among foreign equities, as other countries were beaten up. (EPI ) was the single riser from the pack, up 0.13%, as fresh foreign inflows and a relative undervaluation put a floor under the nation’s equities. India is also the best performer for the rolling month, up 4.06%.
- Russia (RSX ) is the worst performer both for the week and the rolling month, as the removal of U.S. trade sanctions is increasingly becoming a remote possibility. The country’s equities were also hit by the price of oil, which fell below $50 per barrel this week. (RSX ) fell 4.82% this past week, extending monthly losses to 10.55%.
- 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 were all down for the week, with the exception of natural gas. For a full list of all commodity ETFs, click here.
- Natural gas (UNG ) was the single riser from the pack, surging 6.2% this past week, helped by a bullish inventory report. For the week ended March 3, natural gas stocks decreased by 68 billion cubic feet against expectations of a 59 billion cubic feet decline. The gains were not enough to shed natural gas’ monthly losses. (UNG ) is the worst performer for the rolling month, down 8.52%.
- Gold (GLD ) is the best performer for the rolling month, down 2.42%.
- Oil (USO ) posted the worst performance from the bunch, dropping 5.90%, as supplies reached record levels. Indeed, U.S. inventories have been rising for nine consecutive weeks, proving the OPEC deal to cut production may not lead to stable prices over the long term.
- The euro (FXE ) was the best performer, advancing a tepid 0.2%, despite the ECB signaling that stimulus measures will be on for the foreseeable future.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ), however, registered the best gains for the past 30 days, increasing 1.43%.
- Emerging market currencies (CEW ) fell the most this week, down by 1.12%, negatively impacted by the increasing possibility of an interest rate hike in March by the U.S. Federal Reserve and falling oil prices.
- The yen (FXY ) is the worst monthly performer, shedding 2.28%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.