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 the leadership coup in Zimbabwe, which appears to be peaceful. Long-time President Robert Mugabe agreed to step down after his own party, the military and ordinary people rose up against him.
- U.S. housing starts impressed in October, easily beating expectations. Housing starts rose by 13.9% to 1.29 million compared to just 1.19 million forecasted by pundits. Adding to the bright picture, starts for September were revised up from 1.12 million to 1.13 million.
- Federal Reserve minutes revealed that policymakers have started to worry about a rising stock market, signaling that interest rates may be increased at a quicker pace. As of now, the Fed is expected to raise interest rates in December. The U.S. central bank struck an optimistic tone about the economy, pleased that the labor market, consumer spending and manufacturing all showed solid performances.
- New durable goods orders fell 1.2% month-over-month, but rose 1% compared to the same period last year. Economists had expected the monthly figure to jump 0.4%. Core orders, meanwhile, were up 0.4%, falling short of estimates of 0.5%.
- Jobless claims of 239,000 were roughly in line with estimates for the week ended November 18 and were lower by 13,000 compared to the previous week.
- Crude oil inventories dropped by 1.9 million barrels in the November 17 week, after they advanced by a similar amount a week before.
- A swathe of European manufacturing indexes indicated rising activity in the sector. The Eurozone’s flash manufacturing PMI rose to 60 in November from 58.3 in the previous month, reaching record levels.
- A similar European services PMI index surged to 56.2 in October from 55.3, nearing a new record.
Risk Appetite Review
- The S&P 500 (SPY ) continued its winning streak this week, rising 0.60%. The recent rally has worried Federal Reserve policymakers, in a sign another rate hike could be imminent.
- High Beta (SPHB ) was the best performer this week, as investors embraced riskier assets. (SPHB ) is up 1.12%.
- After a string of good weeks, Low Volatility (SPLV ) is the worst performer, posting flat gains over the past week.
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Major Index Review
- Global markets were on a tear.
- Small-cap stocks (IWM ) posted the best results this week, surging 2.47%, despite the fact that the Republicans’ tax plan was negatively reviewed across the board.
- Technology stocks (QQQ ) remain the best monthly performers, with a rise of 5.20% over the past 30 days.
- The Dow Jones (DIA ) and the S&P 500 (SPY ) shared the position of worst performer this week, both advancing only 0.60%. The gains allowed (DIA ) to swing into positive territory for the rolling month with an increase of 0.45% – the worst performance.
- To see how these indices performed last week, check out our ETF Scorecard: November 17 Edition.
- The telecom sector (XTL ) again posted blockbuster gains, advancing 2.34% this week.
- In a sign that risk appetite has returned to markets, utilities (XLU ) fell 0.52% in the past five days.
- The technology sector (XLK ) continues to be the best monthly performer, soaring 5.27%.
- The healthcare industry (XLV ) remains the worst performer for the rolling month with a decline of 2.51%.
Foreign Equity Review
- Foreign equities were mixed.
- Brazil (EWZ ) is the best performer for the second consecutive week, this time surging more than 4% as investors are optimistic President Michel Temer will be able to pass fiscal reforms despite fears he will be forced to water down the bill. Still, the weekly gains were not enough to offset losses recorded in the previous weeks and (EWZ ) is the single faller for the rolling month with a decline of more than 1%.
- Germany (EWG ) fell slightly this week, as the nation is facing political uncertainty. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats have failed to reach a deal for a grand coalition with three other parties, and has to now either lead with a minority government or strike an accord with the Social Democrats, who have been unwilling to form a unity front but recently appeared to change their mind in order to maintain political stability in the country.
- China (FXI ) has risen nearly 6% over the past 30 days, with a large part of the gains posted this week.
- 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 king this week, advancing 3.48% on news that a Keystone pipeline could be closed for several weeks after a rupture caused a spill of more than 200,000 gallons. There are also fears that South Dakota regulators might revoke a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline. With blockbuster gains of 10.69%, (USO ) is also the best monthly performer.
- Natural gas (UNG ), meanwhile, is the worst performer both for the week and the rolling month, down 3.79% and 5.43%, respectively, on renewed oversupply concerns.
- The Japanese yen (FXY ) was the best performer both for the week and the rolling month, increasing 1.09% and 2.42%, respectively.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ) was the worst performer with a drop of 0.53%, despite a strong signal from the Federal Reserve that it may raise interest rates at a quicker pace.
- The Australian dollar (FXA ) fell a little more than 2% in the past 30 days, largely due to weak economic data.
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