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.
After two weeks of weak activity due to the Easter holidays, this week was strong in data, particularly in the U.S. The American job market disappointed in March, with payrolls growth coming in at 103,000, well below expectations of 175,000. On a positive note, payrolls for the previous month was revised up by 13,000 to 326,000. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1%, which is above consensus estimates of 4%. Meanwhile, average hourly earnings grew by 0.3% in March, compared to the previous month, and 2.7% over the same period last year. Finally, the participation rate grew to 62.9% from 62.8%. U.S. producer price index (PPI) surged by 0.3% in March month-over-month and 3% compared to the same period last year, an indication there is higher inflation at the wholesale level. Core PPI growth, i.e. less food and energy, came in at 2.7%. U.S. CPI, the more important figure, increased to 2.4% in March from 2.2% in April, in a clear sign inflation is picking up. Month-over-month, however, the inflation figure was more disappointing, with the CPI falling 0.1% in March. U.K. manufacturing production is struggling to gain traction as there is still a great degree of uncertainty regarding the Brexit deal. Manufacturing production fell 0.2% in February after three months of tepid growth. Crude oil inventories in the U.S. are still well below their level a year ago, although they rose by 3.3 million barrels for the week ended April 6. In the prior week, stockpiles dropped by 4.6 million barrels. U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy minutes showed that policymakers were upbeat about the economy and saw further rate hikes ahead as they shift monetary policy from a highly accommodative stance to neutral. The European Central Bank released its monetary policy accounts, revealing that policymakers are wary of trade war risks and the strength of the euro. Unemployment claims dropped 9,000 to 233,000 for the week ended April 7, below consensus estimates of 242,000. The 233,000 showing is slightly higher than the four-week moving average of 230,000.
Risk Appetite Review
Markets have been moving sideways lately due to conflicting signals from the White House regarding a potential trade war with China. Low volatility (SPLV A) was the only faller this week, posting losses of 0.72%. The riskier high beta (SPHB B-), meanwhile, was the top performer with a gain of 1.64%. The broad market (SPY A) advanced 0.95%, continuing last week’s winning streak. Sign up for ETFdb.com Pro and get access to real-time ratings on over 1,900 U.S.-listed ETFs.
Major Index Review
Technology stocks (QQQ A-) are the best performers this week with a rise of more than 2%, as the index recovered some of the large losses experienced in previous weeks. In no small part, (QQQ A-) was helped by a rally in Facebook (FB) after CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony went surprisingly well. For the rolling month, however, (QQQ A-) remained the worst performer with a decline of 7.2%. The S&P 500 (SPY A) was the worst performer for the past five days, rising only 0.95%. For the rolling month, Europe, Australasia and Far East (EFA A) recorded the smallest losses from the pack, down 0.53%. To see how these indices performed a week before last, check out ETF Scorecard: April 6 Edition.
Sectors were mixed. Thanks to rising oil prices, the energy sector (XLE A) was the best performer both for the week and the rolling month, up 3.62% and 2.90%, respectively. As the risk-on sentiment returned to market, utilities (XLU A) were shunned by investors, with the index tumbling 2.93% during the week. Financials (XLF A) had a good week, but disappointed for the rolling month amid broad market declines. (XLF A) is down 6.25% for the past 30 days.
Foreign Equity Review
Foreign equities were mixed. Russia (RSX B+)’s losing streak intensified this week after the U.S. imposed sanctions on some oligarchs controlling important listed companies. Even rising oil prices failed to halt outflows in the Russian stock market. (RSX B+) has dropped nearly 10% in the past five days, extending monthly losses to 11.57%. China (FXI A-), meanwhile, was the best performer for the week, surging more than 4%, although its monthly performance remains shaky. British equities (EWU A-) were the only gainers for the rolling month, rising 3.45%. To find out more about ETFs exposed to particular countries, check 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. After taking a plunge last week, oil (USO A) came back in force, advancing 5.62% in the past five days due to a worsening crisis in Syria, potentially threatening supplies. As a result of the strong gains, (USO A) is also the best performer for the rolling month, surging 9.83%. Natural gas (UNG B-) fell the most from the commodity pack both for the week and the rolling month, down 0.45% and 4.64%, respectively. Use our Head-to-Head Comparison tool to compare two ETFs such as (UNG B-) and (USO A) on a variety of criteria such as performance, AUM, trading volume and expenses.
Currency volatility was rather muted amid an increase in swings in other financial markets. The U.S. dollar (UUP A) was the worst performer for the week, falling 0.38%. The British pound (FXB A-), meanwhile, was the best performer for the week and the rolling month, posting solid gains of 1.16% and 1.93%, respectively. The Australian dollar (FXA A-) is the worst performer for the rolling month, down 1.57%.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.