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 final week before Christmas was, unsurprisingly, rather dull in events, with only Bank of Japan announcing its monetary policy decision.
- In a widely expected move, BoJ kept its monetary policy on hold, saying it anticipated the economy to continue its moderate expansion. Overnight interest rates remained at minus 0.1%, while the bond-yield target of Japanese government bonds stood still at zero percent.
- Eurozone’s final CPI figures failed to deliver a surprise, with inflation remaining at the same level of 1.5% in November year-over-year. Core CPI also stood at the same level of 0.9%, well-below Europe’s central bank target of 2%.
- U.S. housing starts were strong in November, extending the winning streak started in October. Starts advanced 3.3% in November, to an annualized figure of 1.29 million.
- U.S. existing home sales were also strong, rising 5.6% month-over-month and 3.8% year-over-year to 5.8 million in November. The figure is higher than consensus estimates of 5.5 million.
- Crude oil inventories registered an abrupt drop for the week ended December 15, falling by 6.5 million barrels. This is the fifth decline in a row. Gasoline stocks, meanwhile, marched higher during the same week to 1.2 million barrels.
- Final U.S. GDP for the third-quarter slightly disappointed. Real output growth stood at 3.2%, compared to 3.3% previously, with the growth driver being non-residential fixed investments, which spiked 4.7%.
- U.S. jobless claims rose to 245,000 for the week ended December 16, above consensus estimates of 232,000. Claims advanced 225,000 in the prior week.
Risk Appetite Review
- Low volatility (SPLV ) was slammed this week, dropping 1%, as investors flocked to riskier assets.
- High Beta (SPHB ), meanwhile, posted the best performance this week, advancing more than 2%.
- The broad market (SPY ) itself had a good week, rising 0.80% in the past five days.
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Major Index Review
- The small-cap index (IWM ) was on a tear this week, rising 1.60% largely thanks to the tax-cut plan passed by the U.S. Republicans.
- Emerging markets (EEM ) posted the worst performance both for the week and the rolling month, dropping 0.11% and 3.19%, respectively, with China and Russia contributing the most to the poor monthly performance.
- The Dow Jones (DIA ) was the clear winner for the rolling month, surging 5.31%.
- To see how these indices performed last week, check out ETF Scorecard: December 15 Edition.
- The energy sector (XLE ) had a strong week, rising 3.68% in the past five days, as stabilizing oil prices boosted the stocks of U.S. producers.
- For the rolling month, however, the financial sector (XLF ) posted the best gains, up 6.67%, as the industry is expected to benefit handsomely from the tax cuts approved by U.S. Republicans.
Foreign Equity Review
- Brazil equities (EWZ ) had the best week from the pack on news that Boeing is mulling to buy domestic plane-maker Embraer. (EWZ ) is up 1.70% since last Thursday, representing the best performance.
- For the rolling month, India (EPI ) is the best performer with an advance of 2.49%.
- Russia (RSX ) is the worst performer both for the week and the rolling month, with a drop of 5.49% and 5.58%, respectively.
- 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 had a good week, with the exception of natural gas.
- Copper (JJC ) was again the best weekly performer with an advance of 3.87%, buoyed by a tax-overhaul plan passed in the House by U.S. Republicans. Copper is used extensively in manufacturing and construction, and a tax cut for these industries is expected to increase demand for the metal.
- Oil (USO ) is the best performer for the rolling month, up more than 3%.
- Natural gas (UNG ), meanwhile, is the worst performer both for the week and the rolling month, tumbling 3.75% and 17.76%, respectively. The fall was due to big production increases in the U.S. and warm weather expected across the southern part of the U.S.
- The Japanese yen (FXY ) was the worst performer this week, reflecting an increase in global risk appetite. The yen is also the worst performer for the rolling month.
- The Euro (FXE ) posted strong gains this week, surging 0.77%, although that performance did not help the currency much for the rolling month.
- The Australian dollar (FXA ) is the king this month with gains of 1.58%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.