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 European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged and said it was committed to further increasing its stimulus program if needed. ECB President Mario Draghi admitted that the European economy is on strong footing, but he made clear that low inflation meant a “substantial degree” of accommodation was still necessary. He noted that this autumn the ECB will recalibrate its monetary policy, turning investors’ eyes to the next meeting in October.
- A downbeat employment report in the U.S. disappointed investors. The U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in August compared to estimates of over 180,000. The figure for the prior month was revised down by 20,000 to 189,000. The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 4.3%, and the participation level stood still at 62.9%. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings rose tepidly by 0.1% in August month-over-month and 2.5% compared to the same period last year.
- U.S. manufacturing PMI fell to 52.8 in August from 53.3 in the previous month.
- In the week ended September 1, the number of U.S. oil rigs rose by 3 to 943. Overall, North American rigs fell to 1,144 from 1,157 because of a dramatic drop registered by Canada.
- U.S. consumer sentiment deteriorated in August, dropping from 97.6 to 96.8. Pundits had expected a figure of 97.4.
- U.S. unemployment claims unexpectedly surged to 298,000 for the week ended September 2, largely due to 50,000 more claims from Texas, as the after-effects of hurricane Harvey are starting to be felt.
- Crude oil inventories rose for the first time since June. For the week ended September 1, stockpiles surged by 4.6 million barrels against a fall of 5.4 million in the previous week. Hurricane Harvey is expected to halt production at certain refineries, likely serving as a harbinger that inventories will fall in the near future.
Risk Appetite Review
- Markets had a rather rough week, as North Korea tensions increased and hurricane Harvey caused serious economic harm in Texas.
- Low volatility (SPLV ) is the worst performer for the second week in a row, this time with a fall of 0.86%.
- Equal weight (RSP ), meanwhile, is the best performer with a small drop of 0.20%.
- The broad market (SPY ) fell 0.42%.
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Major Index Review
- Global equities were mixed.
- iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA ), an ETF with exposure to Europe, rallied 0.52%, representing the best performance for the week, as investors increasingly view European shares in a positive light.
- Dow Jones (DIA ) was the worst performer, posting a fall of 0.92%, largely weighed down by insurers and banks, which are expected to suffer in the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. (DIA ) is also the worst monthly performer, down 1.22%.
- Emerging markets (EEM ) held up this week, helping them to keep their outperformance for the rolling month. (EEM ) rose 1.85% in the past 30 days.
- To see how these indices performed last week, check out ETF Scorecard: September 1 Edition.
- As expected, the financial sector (XLF ) was the worst performer, dragged down by insurance stocks as their earnings suffered due to a rise in claims from Texas. (XLF ) is also the worst performer for the month with a decline of 5.65%.
- The energy sector (XLE ) is by far the best performer, advancing 3.20% for the week. It is important to note that hurricane Harvey disrupted gasoline production at a host of refineries in Texas, putting a strain on supplies.
Foreign Equity Review
- Brazil (EWZ ) was the best performer this week, rising 3.71%, as the nation leaves behind political scandals and looks ahead to strong economic growth this year of potentially 3%. For the rolling month, (EWZ ) is up 9.07%, the best performance from the pack.
- China (FXI ) fell 0.43% but remains amongst the best monthly performers.
- India (EPI ) dropped 0.75% for the rolling month, becoming the worst performer.
- 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 mixed.
- Oil (USO ) was the clear outperformer, helped by supply disruption in Texas caused by hurricane Harvey. (USO ) advanced 4.5% this past week.
- Natural gas (UNG ) was the single faller this week, down 0.90%.
- Silver (SLV ) posted blockbuster performance for the rolling month, up 10.32%, largely due to geopolitical uncertainty stemming from North Korea, the rogue nation that recently launched a missile.
- The Agriculture fund (DBA ) dropped 5.35% for the rolling month, being the single faller from the pack.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ) continued its downward descent this week, falling 1.12%, as hurricane Harvey along with some downbeat employment data weighed on performance. For the rolling month, the currency is down 1.82%.
- The Japanese currency (FXY ) is strong, posting the best performance for the week, up 1.3%, as it benefited from its safe-haven status in the face of rising North Korea tensions.
- Emerging markets (CEW ) are up 2.18% for the month, representing the best performance.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.