U.S. equity markets finished an impressive first quarter on a high note today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average logging in its best quarter in 15 years and the S&P 500 breaking a six-year old high to mark a new all-time new record. Bolstering investor confidence was news of further developments in the euro zone; Cyprus finally reopened its banks today with little signs of panic. However, disappointing readings on manufacturing in the Chicago area and weekly labor data slightly offset optimism [see Free Member Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].Global Market Overview: Stocks Close Out Quarter On High Note
After concerns over Cyprus abated, all three major U.S. equity index rallied to close in positive territory. The S&P 500 ETF (SPY, A) rose 0.31%, as its underlying index finished at 1569.19, breaking its highest close since 2007. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA, B) gained 0.25%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq ETF (QQQ, A-) also inched 0.25% higher.
In Europe, markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 gaining 0.5%. Meanwhile, Asian markets slumped after China’s banking regulator announced new controls on popular wealth-management products. China’s Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 2.8%, while Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.3%.
Bond ETF Roundup
U.S. Treasury prices were marginally lower today as bond traders digested the latest developments in Cyprus. Yields on 5 and 10-year notes as well as 30-year bonds rose 1 basis point [see also Seven Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolios].
Crude oil futures charged higher once again today, logging in successful monthly and quarterly advances. Natural gas and gasoline futures, however, traded lower. Meanwhile, gold futures settled below $1,600 an ounce as euro zone worries eased.
ETF Chart Of The Day #1: (XLU)
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLU, A) was one of the best performers today, gaining 1.22% during the session. Utilities shares were among today’s top performers, forcing this ETF to rally throughout the day. As trading volumes peaked during the final hour of trading, XLU settled at $39.10 a share [see Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio].
ETF Chart Of The Day #2: (GREK)
The FTSE Greece 20 ETF (GREK, C) also posted a strong performance today, gaining 1.71% during the session. After relatively little panic was seen following the reopening of Cypriot banks, this ETF jumped significantly higher at the open. GREK slid sideways for the remainder of the day, eventually settling at $14.90 a share [see Euro Free Europe Portfolio].
ETF Fun Fact Of The Day
The best-performing retirement strategy over the trailing 1-year period has been the Cheapskate Portfolio, which has gained 12.41%.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.