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 rich in economic data, particularly in the U.S.
- Bank of Japan kept its ultra-loose monetary policy unchanged, but some members of the committee questioned whether the bank will be able to exit its monetary stimulus measures. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda made clear that the bank would not have a problem ending its asset purchase program and, eventually, reversing it. Kuroda also made clear it was too early to talk about the end of stimulus measures because inflation is still low.
- The U.S. job market continues to strengthen at a quick pace, likely boosting bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at an accelerated pace. For the month of February, the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs, easily beating estimates of 205,000. Adding to the bright picture, the non-farm payrolls figure for January was revised upward from 200,000 to 239,000. Despite the blockbuster report, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, while the participation level stood still at 63%.
- The employment report also revealed some underwhelming developments. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.1% in February compared to the previous month, after advancing 0.3% in January. Economists had expected an increase of 0.2%. Year-over-year, earnings rose by 2.6%, below expectations of 2.9%.
- In Britain, manufacturing production posted a slight advance of 0.1%, underwhelming expectations of 0.2%.
- U.S. inflation failed to deliver a surprise in February, with the consumer price index coming in flat at 2.2%, in line with forecasts. Month-over-month, the CPI grew by 0.2%.
- Chinese industrial production rose 7.2% year-over-year, comfortably beating expectations of 6.2%.
- U.S. retail sales disappointed in February, falling by 0.1% and continuing the downward slide. Analysts had expected strong growth of 0.4% given that the figure fell 0.3% in January. Core retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose by 0.2% month-over month.
- Crude oil inventories have risen for the third consecutive week. For the five-day period ending March 9, oil stockpiles surged by 5 million barrels; although, they are still 18.4% below their level a year ago.
- U.S. unemployment claims continued to point to a strong labor market, with initial claims down 4,000 to 226,000 in the week ended March 10.
Risk Appetite Review
- After an impressive previous week, markets have reversed some of the gains.
- Low Volatility (SPLV ) was the best performer for the month and the only gainer, rising 0.5%, as a potential trade war boosted demand for safe-haven assets.
- As a result, High Beta (SPHB ) was the poorest performer with a drop of 0.87%, while the Broad Markets (SPY ) declined 0.25%.
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Major Index Review
- Global equities were rather mixed on weak volatility.
- Emerging Markets (EEM ) gained slightly this week, up 0.43%, enough to win the best performer title.
- Meanwhile, Dow Jones (DIA ) was surprisingly the worst performer both for the week and the rolling month with a decline of 0.77% and a rise of 1.75%, respectively.
- For the rolling month, technology stocks (QQQ ) are the best from the pack, posting solid gains of 8.58%.
- To see how these indices performed a week before last, check out ETF Scorecard: March 9 Edition.
- Sectors were mixed.
- Amid investors flight to safety and slight preference for safe-haven assets, Utilities (XLU ) outperformed all sectors this week, edging up 2.12%.
- Materials (XLB ), which contains aluminum and steel stocks, posted the worst gains, as Donald Trump’s import tariffs may have a negative effect on free trade between Europe and the U.S. (XLB ) is down more than 2% for the past five days.
- For the rolling month, the Technology Sector (XLK ) was king with an advance of 8.71%.
- Lastly, Consumer Staples (XLP ) fell nearly 1% in the past 30 days, representing the worst performance.
Foreign Equity Review
- Foreign equities posted mixed results.
- Russia (RSX ) was the worst weekly performer with a drop of 3.14%, as a spat with the Western world intensified after Britain accused the country of murdering a spy and the Trump administration imposed new sanctions due to election meddling.
- The Chinese stock market (FXI ) posted the strongest weekly gains thanks to solid economic data of late, including industrial production. (FXI ) is also the best performer for the rolling month, up nearly 6%.
- India (EPI ) is the worst monthly performer, down more than 3% in the past 30 days.
- To find out more about ETFs exposed to particular countries, check out 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 best performer this week with a rise of 0.57%, despite increasing stockpiles in the U.S. (USO ) is also the best performer for the rolling month with an increase of 4.66%.
- Natural Gas (UNG ) is the worst weekly performer, although only with a relatively small drop of 1.67%.
- With a decline of 1.18% in the past 30 days, Copper (JJC ) takes last place in terms of monthly performance.
- After a strong previous week, the Australian dollar (FXA ) lagged behind this week, dropping 0.27%. As a result of the decline, (FXA ) is the worst performer for the rolling month with losses of 0.48%.
- The British pound, meanwhile, (FXB ) rose by 0.69% this week, the best performance from the pack.
- For the rolling month, the Japanese yen (FXY ) is the best performer, up 1.32%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.