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ETF Scorecard: February 17 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.

This week has been marked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s first interactions with the nation’s outside partners. Trump’s meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe went rather well, with both parties committed to strengthening economic, political and military ties. Although Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump have different values, they found common language in a recent meeting during which they committed to changing the North American Trade Agreement only if it benefits both countries. Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, meanwhile, had a squabble with Trump over the more than 1,000 refugees that the U.S. president refuses to accept into the country, despite such an agreement closed by the Obama administration. Consumer sentiment in the U.S. came in at 95.7, below consensus of 98.5. Oil rigs in the U.S. increased by 12 in the week ended February 10, to a total count of 741. Chinese trade surplus increased to 355 billion yuan in January, from 275 billion yuan previously. Japanese GDP rose by 0.2% in the fourth quarter, disappointing analysts’ estimates of 0.3%. U.S. PPI (Producer Price Index) jumped unexpectedly by 0.6% month-over-month in January, higher than the consensus of 0.3%. Year-over-year, the index stood still at 1.6%. U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 0.6% in January compared to the previous month, much lower than estimates of an increase of just 0.3%. Year-over-year, CPI stood at 2.5%, above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% and higher than pundits’ forecast of 2.1%. U.S. retail sales grew by 0.4% in January, beating predictions of 0.1%. Last month’s figure was upwardly revised to 1.0% from 0.6%. Industrial production in the U.S. fell by 0.3% in January, disappointing analysts, who had expected a flat figure. Last month’s showing was downwardly revised to an increase of 0.6% from 0.8%. U.S. crude oil stockpiles jumped by 9.5 million barrels in the week ending February 10, marking the sixth consecutive weekly increase. Pundits had expected a spike of just 3.7 million barrels. U.S. unemployment claims came in at 239,000 for the week ending February 11, below consensus of 246,000. U.S. housing starts of 1.24 million in January were 2.6% lower compared to the previous month, but the figure beat analysts’ estimates of 1.23 million. The Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey jumped by 20 points in February to 43.3, representing the highest reading since January of 1984. The figure was well above consensus estimates of just 19.3.

Risk Appetite Review

The broad market (SPY A) has continued to be strong, rising to new record highs. (SPY A) has increased 1.61% over the past week. Low Volatility ETF (SPLV A) was up 1.49%, representing the second-best performance, as investors favored less risky equities. High Beta ETF (SPHB B-) was the worst performer from the pack for the second consecutive week, rising just 0.75%. Use our Head-to-Head Comparison tool to compare two ETFs, such as (SPLV A) and (SPY A), on a variety of criteria such as performance, AUM, trading volume and expenses.


Major Index Review

It was another strong week for the global markets, with all indexes posting gains upwards of 1%. Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA A-) rose 2.07% since last Thursday, as investors favored more established companies and other indexes were slightly hit by energy producers’ poor performance. For the rolling month, emerging markets (EEM A-) was the best performer with a gain of 5.33%, slightly beating the technology index (QQQ A-), which also had a strong month. Amid this upbeat performance, iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM B+) disappointed investors, advancing just 1.02% over the past week, as fatigue about the “Trump trade” set in. iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA A) is up 2.1% for the rolling month, representing the worst performance. To see how these indices performed last week, check out ETF Scorecard: February 10 Edition.


Foreign Equity Review

Although most foreign equities joined the global equity rally, some regions fared badly. Brazil (EWZ B+) has again returned to favor, rallying more than 4% over the past week, as investors cheered the government’s commitment to implementing market-friendly reforms. For the rolling month, (EWZ B+) beat its peers, surging 10.22%. India (EPI B+) has been the worst performer this past week, falling 0.49%, as the nation’s central bank disappointed investors by keeping monetary policy unchanged. Pundits had expected an interest rate cut. Russia (RSX B+) managed to avoid being the worst weekly performer, but for the rolling month, the 0.75% advance was the lowest gain among its peers. Investors continued to tread cautiously, as the promise of improved relations with the U.S. may not materialize after all. Donald Trump signaled he was favoring leaving Russia sanctions in place. To find out more about ETFs exposed to particular countries, use our ETF Country Exposure tool. Select a particular country from a world map and get a list of all ETFs tracking your pick.


Commodities Review

Commodities have posted mixed results. Among commodities, silver (SLV C+) again outshined its peers both for the week and the rolling month, rising 2.39% and 5.80%, respectively. Natural gas (UNG B-) continued its poor performance, reaching three-month lows recently as storage levels failed to drop as much as analysts had forecasted. (UNG B-) fell 5.28% since last Thursday, and a whopping 15.65% for the rolling month.


Currency Review

Currencies were all up, with the exception of the U.S. dollar. The greenback (UUP A) fell 0.54% over the past week, as investors became impatient with Trump’s promised tax code overhaul. The possibility of a trade war with China also weighed on the currency. For the rolling month, the euro (FXE A) was the worst performer, down 0.35%. Emerging currencies (CEW A) recovered over the past five days from a considerable drop the previous week. (CEW A) has risen 0.61% since last Thursday, extending monthly gains to as much as 2.55%.


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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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