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.
In the U.S., Donald Trump had his first week as president, starting in earnest to deliver on some of his promises. So far, he has worsened relations with China and Mexico and has met with UK Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss a trade deal. He pulled out of all Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations but said he will try to reach an agreement with each TPP country separately. Trump also started acting on his plan to build the wall south of the U.S. border and suggested a 20% tax on all Mexican imports. On the other side of the Atlantic, the UK Supreme Court has ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May should consult with Parliament before triggering Article 50, raising chances for a softer Brexit. China’s GDP expanded 6.8% in the fourth quarter, broadly in-line with estimates, while industrial production edged up 6% year-over-year in December. Retail sales in the UK fell 1.9% in December, disappointing analysts, who expected a 0.1% fall. German PMI expanded to 56.5 in January, higher than forecasts of 55.5. Europe-wide PMI advanced to 55.1, above estimates of 54.8. U.S. Manufacturing PMI stood at 55.1 in January, considerably higher than last month’s 54.2. Existing home sales came in lower than expected – 5.49 million versus 5.55 million. Crude oil stockpiles rose 2.8 million barrels in the week ended January 20. In the previous week, crude inventories were up 2.3 million. About 259,000 people filed for unemployment insurance against a consensus of 246,000. UK’s fourth quarter GDP increased by about 0.6%, trumping estimates of 0.5%. U.S.’ trade deficit shrank slightly over the past month, from $65.3 billion to $65 billion.
Risk Appetite Review
The broad market (SPY A) has risen 1.16% on renewed optimism that a Trump presidency will accelerate the U.S. economy. Low Volatility ETF (SPLV A) was the worst performer this week, rising only 0.19%. High Beta ETF (SPHB B-) was the best gainer from the pack, advancing 2.34%. To see how these indices performed last week, read ETF Scorecard: January 20 Edition.
Major Index Review
Markets were all up for the week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossing the 20,000 threshold. Emerging markets (EEM A-) jumped 2.89% since last Thursday, in spite of a worsening rhetoric from Donald Trump toward important emerging economies such as Mexico and China. Emerging markets was also the best performer for the rolling month, up 8.96%. The worst performer for the week was iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA A), an index containing holdings spanning Europe, Australia and Asia, rising 1.37%. iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM B+) was the worst performer for the rolling month, as it reversed some of the gains achieved following the Trump victory in the presidential election.
Foreign Equity Review
Foreign equities were all up. Brazil (EWZ B+), one of the most volatile markets of late, has risen 3.33% over the past week, becoming the best performer for the rolling month with a 15.56% return. The exceptional performance was on the back of rising commodity prices and lower interest rates. China (FXI A-) has posted the worst gains this week – up only 1.29% – as the country’s central bank is battling with capital outflows and a weakening yuan. In addition, a trade war with the U.S. seems more likely, after relations between the countries continued to worsen last week. For the rolling month, Russia (RSX B+) is the worst performer, up only 3.46%. To find out more about ETFs exposed to particular countries, use ETFdb.com’s ETF Country Exposure tool. Select a particular country from a world map and get a list of all ETFs tracking your pick.
Commodities have posted mixed results on lower volatility. Silver (SLV C+) and gold (GLD A-) were the worst performers, after last week’s strong gains. The shiny metals have dropped 1.18% and 1.21%, respectively, since last Thursday, as investors flocked to riskier assets. Copper (JJC A) advanced nearly 2% on the threat of a strike at the world’s largest mine in Chile. (JJC A) is the best performer for the rolling month as well, up as much as 8.13%. Natural gas (UNG B-) was the best performer this week, edging up 2.42%, on news of declining inventories and cold weather. However, these weekly gains were not enough to offset the large monthly loss, which stands at 8.63%. 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 posted mixed results this week. As expected, the British pound (FXB A-) was the best performer with a 2.28% gain, propped by the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Prime Minister Theresa May should consult with Parliament before initiating Brexit talks. For the rolling month, the Australian dollar (FXA A-) was the best performer, staging a 4.91% gain on rising commodity prices and low valuation. The U.S. dollar (UUP A) fell slightly, about 0.57%, but that performance was the worst of the pack. The dollar gave up gains on comments by Trump and other senior officials that the greenback was overvalued. The dollar fell 2.51% for the rolling month. Use ETFdb.com’s Head-to-Head Comparison tool and compare two ETFs such as (FXA A-) and (UUP A) on a variety of criteria such as performance, AUM, trading volume and expenses.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.