ETF Trading Report: Health Care, Value ETFs In Focus

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American stock markets finished Wednesday’s trading session mixed as banks and energy slumped, but consumer products and services modestly rose. This came after a weak ADP report, which many consider to be a conservative reading of the employment situation.

Job growth came in at 119,000 for this key figure, well below both the consensus and the bottom of the consensus range. To top things off, the prior report was revised lower by 8,000 jobs to just 201,000 for the period. This report caused many to speculate that Friday’s key jobs report would also be unfavorable, pushing sentiment lower to start the trading session.

Thanks to greater demand for safe havens, the Ten Year did see yields decline by 2bps in the session down to 1.93%. Additionally, the U.S. dollar index rose back up above the $79 level largely thanks to strength against the yen (see Three Great Tech ETFs That Avoid Apple).

Unsurprisingly given this lowered risk tolerance, commodity markets had a rough time across the board as well. All of the energy products declined on the session while nearly all the softs were in the red as well. Metals were equally weak, as copper fell by 1.6% and silver declined by 0.9% in mid-week trading.

In ETF trading, many of the big name products saw weak levels of volume once again, both in the equity and long-term bond market. However, trading was robust in several Asia-Pacific ETFs, some commodity funds, and large cap style box ETFs.

In particular, investors saw a nice increase in interest for the iShares S&P Global HealthCare Sector ETF (IXJ). This product, despite a robust asset base of over half a billion, usually sees volume of about 50,000 shares a day but saw a spike to nearly 150,000 in Wednesday’s session.

Interest in this product may have spiked as a way for traders to gain exposure to a relatively recession proof segment of the global economy ahead of some key economic data. Also, although many of the U.S. components of the fund saw light volume, traders did see heavy trading in some of the fund’s international components.

Due to this and the heavy European component of the fund—the product has nearly 34% of its assets in the region—trading was elevated in this key ETF heading into the tail end of the week (read Should You Buy The Senior Loan ETF?).

Thanks to the heightened level of uncertainty in the market, value investing looked to be more popular in today’s trading session as well. As a result, the large cap focused iShares S&P 500 Value ETF (IVE) did see a boost in trading as volume reached 2.1 million shares compared to the average of about 460,000 (read Mid Cap ETF Investing 101).

Other value ETFs did see more interest on the day as well, especially when compared to their growth counterparts. Given this, it could suggest that some investors are not willing to throw in the towel on equities just yet although the push towards value does suggest some trepidation thanks to the weak employment report.

(see more on ETF trading in the Zacks ETF Center)

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