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 mixed for the week. The U.S. trade deficit edged up in November to $45.2 billion from a revised $42.4 billion in the previous month. The deficit widening was above analysts’ expectations of $44.5 billion. The U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in December, below forecasts of 175,000. However, the November figure was revised from 178,000 to 204,000. A higher-than-expected rise in average hourly earnings – 0.4% against 0.3% – has contributed to what was overall a solid jobs report. U.S. factory orders decreased 2.4% in November, slightly beating consensus of a 2.5% fall. The October number was slightly revised up to a 2.8% climb. U.S. job openings of 5.2 million were strong again, but fell short of estimates of 5.59 million. U.S. crude oil inventories surged dramatically by 4.1 million barrels for the week ended January 6, significantly above expectations of 0.9 million. The increase comes after the previous week’s crude stockpiles fall of 7.1 million barrels. Chinese consumer prices edged up 2.1% in December, compared to the same period last year. Analysts had predicted a 2.2% rise. U.S. unemployment claims stood at 247,000 for the week ended January 7, beating consensus of 255,000. Manufacturing production in the U.K. increased 1.3% in December, above estimates of 0.6%. Donald Trump held his first press conference this week since being elected president of the U.S. His remarks on Russia and Mexico had the most impact on the stock market. While Trump admitted that Russia may have been responsible for the Democratic National Convention’s email hacking, he suggested relations with the nation would improve under his presidency. On Mexico, Trump reiterated plans to build a wall south of the border to stop illegal immigration and suggested Mexico will bear the cost through an indirect tax.
Risk Appetite Review
The broad market (SPY A) was unchanged since last Thursday, still hovering around all-time highs. However, that zero gain was the best performance of the bunch. Investors in riskier assets have been punished this week. High Beta ETF (SPHB B-) was the worst performer, falling 0.82%. To see how these indices performed last week, read ETF Scorecard: January 6 Edition.
Major Index Review
Markets were all up for the week, with one exception. Emerging markets (EEM A-) has outperformed for the second consecutive week, as the upward correction continues. (EEM A-) has jumped 2.06% since last Thursday on the back of rising commodity prices and the falling U.S. dollar. For the rolling month, however, the technology index (QQQ A-) was king: up 2.84%. iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM B+) was the single faller this week, as the euphoria surrounding the election of Trump fades. (IWM B+) had been one of the best performers following Trump’s victory, chiefly because of his promise to help small U.S. business owners. (IWM B+) dropped the most for the rolling month as well, by 1.64%. Use our Head-to-Head Comparison tool to compare two ETFs such as (EEM A-) and (IWM B+) on a variety of criteria such as performance, AUM, trading volume and expenses.
Foreign Equity Review
Foreign equities were all up for the week for the second consecutive time. Brazil (EWZ B+) was again the best performer this week, continuing a rally started at the beginning of the year. (EWZ B+) is up 3.97% on lower rates and higher iron ore and oil prices. The nation is by far the best performer for the rolling month, up an impressive 11.14%. Japan (EWJ A) has lagged its other foreign peers, advancing a tepid 0.32%. However, (EWJ A) started the year on a high note, and is already hovering near one-year highs. For the rolling month, (EWJ A) dropped 1.23%. 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 had a good week, except for oil. Copper (JJC A) increased 6.57% over the past week on upbeat economic forecasts from the world’s largest consumer, China, and optimism about the U.S. economy. For the rolling month, however, gold (GLD A-) has been the best performer, rising 3.02%, as a recovery in precious metals continues. Oil (USO A) has dropped 1.87% this week on signs U.S. shale producers increased drilling activity after a crude spike following the OPEC agreement to cut supply. Natural gas (UNG B-) is the worst performer for the rolling month again. Investors have been dumping the commodity on fears of mild weather in the U.S. Latest inventory data, however, was encouraging for the bulls. Stockpiles dropped more than forecast. Sign up for ETFdb Pro and gain access to more than 50 all-ETF model portfolios, each of which is backed by a unique investment thesis.
Currencies have posted mixed results this week. The Australian dollar (FXA A-) has advanced the most for the second consecutive week, making it the strongest currency this year, helped by rising commodity prices and an improving Chinese economy. Analysts have also argued that the currency has been regaining some of the lost ground because it was underappreciated. For the rolling month, the Japanese yen (FXY C+) was the best performer, surging 1.84%. The British pound (FXB A-) was the worst performer for the week and the rolling month, falling 1.26% and 4.32%, respectively, on signs the U.K. may choose a so-called hard Brexit, meaning it may lose access to the European single market.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.