After the wide market swings over July, the equities market and stock exchange traded funds ended in listless trading but still managed to finish in the positive for the month.
Another Eurozone financial scare threw the markets into turmoil as investors pulled assets out of risky stocks. Meanwhile, the worst drought in half a century decimated crops across the U.S. agricultural belt, pushing grains to 10 month highs. [Will Rain Help Agriculture ETFs?]
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.0% over July. The S&P 500 added 1.3% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2%.
At the start of the month, investors focused on the weakness in the global economy, notably U.S. economic data, and kept a pulse on the Spain and Italian debt.
Meanwhile, the bulls speculated on more central bank stimulus measures to help support the economy.
However, no indications from the Federal Reserve for any type of aid until visible weakness in the economy, along with early indications of a poor second earnings season, sent stocks reeling in mid-July.
Improvements in the housing market and a recovery in industrial product lifted stocks from the mid-month lows.
With Spain’s Valencia region requesting a bailout and later reports of additional regions seeking aid, global markets quickly dropped on speculation of another default scenario, but this time in the much larger Spanish economy.
Meanwhile, yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond hit fresh record lows as safe-haven investors piled into the U.S. government assets. [When Will the Treasury Bubble Pop for Bond ETFs?]
Still, the markets made a quick recovery after Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, Germany’s Merkel and France’s Hollande pledged to do whatever it takes to help the ailing peripheral states. [Stock ETFs Bounce Back After ECB’s Pledge to Do ‘Whatever It Takes’]
Top ETF performers over July include those that track soft commodities, notably grains and corn.
Visit our ETF Analyzer for the most up-to-date ETF performance numbers.
Max Chen contributed to this article.