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ETF Scorecard: August 12 Edition

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.

Markets were all up this week. A bumper U.S. jobs report last Friday overshadowed earlier disappointing GDP figures, propelling U.S. stock markets to new all-time highs. In Britain, manufacturing production slumped for a second consecutive month in June, by 0.3%, in a further sign the Brexit referendum has taken a toll on the economy. Crude oil inventories in the U.S. rose for a third straight week, 1.1 million barrels versus forecasts of a fall of 1.3 million. On the bright side, gasoline stockpiles dropped 2.8 million barrels. Saudi Arabia said it will meet with OPEC members and non-members at the end of September to discuss potential action to stabilize oil prices, prompting a surge in crude. Unemployment claims in the U.S. stood at 266,000 this week versus 265,000 expected by analysts. Industrial production growth in China dropped from 6.2% in June to 6% in July year-over-year. Meanwhile, retail sales grew 10.2% year-over-year in July, below expectations of 10.5% growth. In Germany, the GDP rose much faster than expected in the second quarter, by 0.4% versus 0.3% forecasted. Nevertheless, the figure marked a slowdown in growth, given that in the first quarter the GDP grew 0.7%. Retail sales in the U.S. were flat in July versus forecasts of 0.4% growth, adding to worries about the economy’s prospects.

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Risk Appetite Review

The broad market (SPY A) has risen 0.66% this week, reaching new all-time highs, after a bumper jobs report. Low Volatility ETF (SPLV A) is down 0.05% since last Thursday. The high beta ETF (SPHB B-) has again had the best performance of all, jumping 1.57%, in a further sign investors’ appetite for risk is not fading away.

Major Index Review

All major indexes are up this week. Emerging markets (EEM A-) have risen 3.18%, the best performance of the bunch, as recovering oil prices and relatively upbeat news from China propped equity markets. For the rolling month, emerging markets are ahead of all other assets too, up 6.60%. iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM B+) is on the bottom of the performance list, with 0.60% growth. For the rolling month, Dow Jones (DIA A-) is the worst performer, with a 1.80% gain, but the index reached new all-time highs on Thursday.

Foreign Equity Review

Foreign ETFs were all up for the week. Germany (EWG B+) is the best performer for the week, with a 4.65% gain, as a strong GDP figure and other data confirmed a bright outlook for the economy – even as pressure mounted in the face of the Brexit referendum. Brazil (EWZ B+) is the best performer for the rolling month, up 11.33%, as investors expect the Olympic Games to boost a sluggish economy, and hope the political fallout will end soon, paving the way for much-needed fiscal reforms. India (EPI B+) has risen just 0.19% this week, as investors treaded carefully ahead of Raghuram Rajan’s exit as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. For the rolling month, Britain’s stock markets (EWU A-) have fared worse, climbing just 2.33%.

Commodities Review

Commodities were mixed this week. Oil (USO A) is again the best performer for the week and the worst performer for the rolling month. Crude has jumped 3.87% this week, on news Saudi Arabia is interested in discussing ways to stabilize the market with other top producers. Over the past 30 days, oil has slipped 7.52%. Natural gas (UNG B-) has tumbled a staggering 8.98% this week after reports showed a supply glut is slowly building, with storage levels increasing 29 billion cubic feet in the week through August 5 versus expectations of 21 billion. Copper (JJC A) is flat for the rolling month, representing the best performance of the bunch.

Currency Review

Currencies were mixed for the week. Emerging markets currencies (CEW A) have advanced 2.12% this past week, supported by rebounding oil prices. The U.S. dollar (UUP A) has posted the worst performance of the bunch, falling 0.52%. For the rolling month, the British pound (FXB A-) is the worst performer, down 1.43%, as the Brexit referendum and the ensuing monetary policy easing weighed on performance. The Japanese yen (FXY C+) is the best performer for the rolling month, up 2.45%, as the country’s authorities appear unable to jump-start a tepid economy and push up inflation.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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