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Dollar's Largest Monthly Loss Since 2018: ETF Winners

Sanghamitra Saha

The dollar index is on its way to post the biggest monthly loss since 2018. Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund UUP has lost about 1.4% in the past month. Dovish Fed comments are mainly behind this move (read: ETF Winners & Losers Post Fed Meet).

Investors should note that the Fed stayed put in its latest meeting held in mid-June but has hinted at rate cuts this year. Even before the meeting, markets started pricing in such a dovish move by the end of the year. Flare-ups in trade tensions and its negative impact on the United States as well as global economy are deemed to have driven the Fed toward such dovish comments.

Though Fed Chair Powell has dimmed the prospects of a near-term rate cut in the recent session and commented that the central bank is “insulated from short-term political pressures,” the expected move is still not out of the table.

As of Jun 26, according to CME FedWatch tool, there is a 60% chance of a 50-bp rate cut in the Sep 18 meeting, followed by a 23.4% probability of 25-bp rate cut and 16.6% likelihood of a 75-bp rate cut. 

Apart from dovish Fed comments, some downbeat data in the fields of retail sales, manufacturing activity and home sales, and construction pointed to a moderately slowing U.S. economy, which in turn kept the strength of the dollar at check.

Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at the ETF investing areas that benefited in a falling dollar environment.

Winners

Large-Cap U.S. Equities

As large-cap stocks are more exposed to foreign markets, these are more hurt by a stronger greenback. As a result, a dovish Fed and weaker dollar are boons to large-cap investing. The S&P 500 ETF SPY added 3.7% in the past month while small-cap ETF iShares Russell 2000 ETF IWM is up 0.8%.

Gold

Rising bets on policy easing and a weaker dollar supported commodities as these are priced in the greenback. Gold benefited considerably as the metal is now hovering around a six-year high. Gold bullion fund SPDR Gold Trust GLD gained 10% in the past month. The yellow metal is set to record the best monthly gain since February 2016, per forbes.com. Gold mining ETF VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF GDX, which normally acts as a leveraged play of the underlying metal, is up 25% in this timeframe (read: Gold ETFs Likely to Rule 2H Irrespective of Fed Rate Cut).

Emerging Markets

Most emerging markets have fallen prey to greenback’s gains. Rising bond yields at home normally curb demand for relatively high-yielding emerging market securities. As a result, emerging market ETF iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM beat the S&P 500 and added 6.4% in the past month, despite China-related trade tensions. WisdomTree Emerging Currency Strategy Fund CEW also advanced 3.5% in the said timeframe.

Short Dollar

No wonder, inverse dollar ETFInvesco DB US Dollar Index Bearish Fund UDN would gain out of the move. The fund added 1.8% past month (as of Jun 26, 2019).

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Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (UUP): ETF Research Reports
 
Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bearish Fund (UDN): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports
 
VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX): ETF Research Reports
 
WisdomTree Emerging Currency Strategy Fund (CEW): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY): ETF Research Reports
 
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