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 marked by a tragedy in the United Kingdom. A terrorist bomb attack on a stadium in Manchester left 22 killed and many more injured. The immediate impact on the markets was rather minimal, with British stocks and the pound both falling slightly.
- U.S. President Donald Trump has been on an overseas trip this week, paying visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Brussels, where he met with the European Union leaders. Following discussions with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, it emerged that the sides were in disagreement over the Russian threat, although Tusk said they were on the same page regarding the Ukrainian conflict.
- The U.S. Federal Reserve’s minutes revealed that a majority of the members were favoring a wait-and-see approach to raising interest rates, pointing to the unusual economic weakness of late, which they hope will prove temporary. Some policymakers argued for the necessity of another hike in order to remove accommodating measures more quickly.
- The oil rig count continues to move upward, rising to 986 in North America for the May 19 week from 965 in the previous five-day period. In the U.S. alone, there was a total of 901 rigs registered, up from 885 in the prior week.
- The German business climate continued to improve this month, rising to record highs. The Institute for Economic Research said the index advanced to 114.6 in May, slightly beating the previous record of 114.5 set in June 2011. In the previous month, the index stood at 112.9.
- U.S. new home sales came in at 569,000 in April, disappointing analysts who, on average, expected sales of 602,000. However, the March data was upwardly revised to 642,000 from 621,000 before.
- U.S. existing home sales also disappointed, falling 2.3% month-over-month in April. Compared to last year, however, sales grew 1.6% to 5.57 million.
- Crude oil inventories continued their downward slide, falling 4.4 million barrels for the week ended May 19. The fall is the seventh consecutive one, although the drawdown only accelerated in recent weeks.
- A second estimate for U.K.’s first-quarter GDP came in at 0.2% growth, lower than the previous estimate of 0.3%.
- U.S. unemployment claims continued to hold near record lows for the May 20 week, coming in at 234,000 and beating consensus estimates of 237,000.
Risk Appetite Review
- Low Volatility (SPLV ) has been the best gainer from the pack, advancing 2.40%, as investors preferred to tread carefully in light of uncertainty regarding Trump’s economic reform agenda.
- The broad market (SPY ) was up 1.87%, after posting weak performance last week.
- High Beta (SPHB ) posted the poorest performance, gaining just 0.96%.
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Major Index Review
- Global equities were in recovery mode, after broad-based weakness in the prior week.
- Technology stocks (QQQ ) was the best performer of the week, rising 2.37%. Technology companies have posted improving financial results of late, as several giants, such as Amazon and Google, are continuing to disrupt traditional industries, including retail and advertising. (QQQ ) was also the best performer for the rolling month with an advance of 4.75%.
- iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA ), an index containing European equities among others, was the worst performer of the week with a tepid increase of 0.65%. (EFA )’s monthly performance, however, remains strong thanks to broad optimism about the European economy that is backed by hard data.
- iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM ) is the only asset that fell for the rolling month, down 1.90%.
- To see how these indices performed last week, check out the ETF Scorecard: May 19 Edition.
- Sectors posted mixed results.
- Utilities (XLU ) were the best weekly performer for the second consecutive week, as investors favored stable assets. (XLU ) is up 2.95% over the past five days.
- The technology sector (XLK ) is the best performer for the rolling month by far, up 4.42%.
Foreign Equity Review
- Foreign equities were mixed this week.
- Chinese equities (FXI ) were king among foreign stocks this week, rallying 2.68% despite a credit downgrade by Moody’s – the first since 1989. The ratings agency cited concerns about China’s increased pace of borrowings, particularly among private companies.
- U.K. equities (EWU ), up 4.83% for the rolling month, are the best performers, as the country’s stocks continue to recover from the Brexit debacle, despite worsening macroeconomic data.
- India (EPI ) was the worst performer this week, dropping 1% on concerns about an overheated stock market.
- Brazilian equities (EWZ ) recovered a bit this week from a recent scandal engulfing the entire political class, including President Michel Temer. However, the equities remain the worst performers for the rolling month, down 4.65%.
- To find out more about ETFs exposed to particular countries, use 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 mixed results, as well.
- Silver (SLV ) has advanced the most in this risk-off environment, rising 1.82% for the week. But the shiny commodity posted the worst losses for the past 30 days, down more than 3%.
- PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DBA ) is the best monthly performer for the second week in a row, up 3.59%.
- Oil (USO ) has failed to stop its decline after OPEC said it would extend supply cuts for another nine months. (USO ), the worst weekly performer, fell 3.42% in the past five days.
- Currencies posted mixed results.
- Emerging markets currencies (CEW ) posted a tepid advance of 0.68%, but that was enough for it to gain the title of best weekly performer.
- Unsurprisingly, the Euro (FXE ) was the best performer for the past 30-day period, advancing nearly 3% on upbeat economic data across the continent.
- The British pound (FXB ) lost the most for the week, down 0.59%, as a second GDP estimate pointed to a first-quarter advance of 0.2%, instead of the originally anticipated 0.3%.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ) was the worst performer for the rolling month, dropping 1.88%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.