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 not rich in market-moving events, with only the U.S. Federal Reserve announcing its monetary policy.
- As widely expected, the U.S. Federal Reserve has kept interest rates steady at between 1% and 1.25%. Officials were upbeat about the job market, saying gains were solid of late. But they were worried about a quick drop in inflation, down to 1.6% in June on a year-over-year basis.
- Existing home sales in the U.S. again showed signs of weakness, slipping 1.8% in June compared to the previous month. Year-over-year, sales rose 0.7% to 5.52 million.
- Consumer confidence in the U.S. is strong for the month of July, rising nearly 4 points to 121.1, easily beating estimates of 117. The index currently sits near 16-year highs, with the peak reached in March at 124.9.
- U.K. GDP grew by 0.3% in the second quarter compared to the previous one, largely in line with estimates.
- Crude oil inventories are dropping at an alarming pace. For the week ended July 21, stockpiles fell by a whopping 7.2 million barrels, the fourth consecutive weekly decrease. Crude oil inventories have been on a downward trajectory line since April 12.
- U.S. new home sales posted zero growth in June, remaining at the same elevated level of 610,000. The figure slightly disappointed analysts, who had expected 611,000 new home sales.
- Unemployment claims in the U.S. were a bit behind forecasts but still strong. In the week ended July 22, around 244,000 people filed for unemployment, 4,000 more than analysts had expected. The figure is an indicator of a strong labor market.
- New orders rose a staggering 6.5% in June, but the robust figure may be misleading. Core orders, excluding transportation, were up just 0.2%. A big order of aircrafts in June was responsible for the strong headline number. Year-over-year, new orders are up 16.1%, while core orders jumped 6.8%.
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Risk Appetite Review
- The broad market (SPY ) has risen slightly this week, advancing 0.31%. (SPY ) had been up for another week of strong gains, but slipped on Thursday.
- Low Volatility (SPLV ) was the strongest performer, advancing 0.42% over the past five days.
- Equal Weight (RSP ) was up 0.21% over the past week, representing the worst performance from the pack.
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Major Index Review
- Global equities have rallied, with a few exceptions.
- The Dow Jones (DIA ) has been the best performer, jumping 1.18% thanks to strong earnings from a host of companies in the index.
- iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM ) disappointed this week, falling 0.47% on a weak U.S. dollar. (IWM ) is also the worst monthly performer, up only 0.88% over the past 30 days.
- For the rolling month, emerging markets (EEM ) are up more than 5%, in no small part thanks to a declining dollar. (EEM )’s performance is the strongest from the bunch.
- To see how these indices performed last week, read ETF Scorecard: July 21 Edition.
- Consumer staples (XLP ) was surprisingly the best performer this week with a gain of 1.84%, representing the best performance from the pack as many of the companies in the sector have been posting strong earnings of late.
- For the rolling month, the financial sector (XLF ) was the best performer, partly buoyed by an upbeat earnings report issued by J.P. Morgan. (XLF ) was up 3.32%.
Foreign Equity Review
- Volatility in foreign equity markets was rather weak.
- China (FXI ) is the best performer for the week, with a rise of 0.88%, as the country is benefiting from foreign inflows following its accession to the MSCI indexes.
- Brazil (EWZ ) has fallen less than 1% this week, but its monthly performance remains the best, up 10.44%.
- Japan (EWJ ) was one of the worst performers for the rolling month, advancing just 0.98%.
- 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 were mixed.
- Copper (JJC ) was the best performer this week, surging more than 5%. The commodity was helped by supply disruptions and rising demand from China, which accounts for roughly half of global demand.
- Natural gas (UNG ) was the worst performer, after being the king last week. (UNG ) dropped 1.78% over the past five days, extending monthly losses to 2.35%. Natural gas is also the poorest performer for the past 30 days.
- For the rolling month, oil (USO ) posted gains of 11.90%, enough to outpace its other peers from the commodity pack. Oil has been rallying of late thanks to dropping inventories in the U.S. and a falling U.S. rig count.
- Volatility in currencies was quite tepid.
- Emerging markets currencies (CEW ) posted the worst losses this week, falling 0.37%.
- The British pound (FXB ) rallied the most this week, gaining 0.55% as the country’s GDP growth remained strong in the second quarter.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ) has been the worst performer for the rolling month, sliding 2.80%.
- The Australian dollar (FXA ) is the best performer for the rolling month with an impressive 5% gain, helped by an improving demand from China.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.