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ETF Scorecard: July 22 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.

Global markets were all slightly down this week, with the exception of one technology index, which was up. The ECB met for the first time since the Brexit vote. No action was taken this Thursday, but Mario Draghi strongly hinted at the central bank’s readiness to further ease monetary policy if warranted. Draghi has not said when he expects to boost stimulus, but analysts believe the central banks may start increasing its QE program this fall, when the effects of the Brexit vote on inflation trajectory will become clearer. Brexit was cited by Draghi as one of the main risks to the EU recovery. In the U.S., retail sales rose 0.6% for the month of June from 0.2% in the previous month, beating forecasts of 0.1%. Meanwhile consumer sentiment was 89.5 versus estimates of 93.5, but overall the relatively rosy picture of the U.S. economy was confirmed. In Britain, the inflation rose more than forecast, to 0.5% year-over-year from 0.3% last month, in a sign that the weakness of the pound started to show its effects on prices. Further spikes in inflation are expected. German ZEW Economic sentiment waded into negative territory in June to -6.8 from 19.2, showing that the Brexit vote hit investor confidence. Europe-wide economic sentiment was even worse, down to -14.7 from 20.2. U.S. Philly Fed Manufacturing Index fell to -2.9 in June from 4.7 previously, confirming the bad shape of the manufacturing sector. Analysts had expected a showing of 5.1. However, the jobs market continued to improve. Jobless claims for the last week were 253,000 versus forecast of 265,000.

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Risk Appetite Review

The broad market is slightly down this week, with the S&P 500 ETF (SPY A) falling 0.24%, as investors laid back to digest news of strong hints of new stimulus from central banks such as the ECB and the Bank of England. Low Volatility ETF (SPLV A) was down 0.63% since last Thursday. The high beta ETF (SPHB B-) has had the best performance of all, jumping 0.10%, after being the best performer last week too, confirming investors’ appetite for risk.

Major Index Review

All major indexes have fallen this week, with the exception of one technology index. PowerShares QQQ Trust, Series 1 (ETF) (QQQ A-), an ETF tracking a benchmark technology index, has posted the best performance for the week and the rolling month, up 0.86% and 5.45%, respectively. The index was boosted by eBay (EBAY), which jumped nearly 22% in the past week on great second-quarter results, and Biogen (BIIB), up more than 12% following a better-than-expected earnings report and a CEO departure announcement. U.S. small caps (IWM B+) have had the worst performance for the week, falling 0.32%. For the rolling month, the iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA A) is the worst performer, with a 2.42% loss, reflecting weak overseas stock markets and economic fundamentals. The fund is heavily exposed to Japan and Europe.

Foreign Equity Review

All foreign ETFs are down since last Thursday, with two exceptions: Brazil and Germany. The best performer for the week and rolling month is again Brazil (EWZ B+), which has risen 1.57% and 14.53%, respectively. Investors continued to cheer a slightly improved political environment, commodity prices stabilization, and more importantly the upcoming Olympic Games, which should provide a boost to the economic activity. The worst performer for the week is Russia (RSX B+), down 1.80%. For the rolling month, United Kingdom (EWU A-) is the worst performer, with a 5.38% fall, reflecting Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

Commodities Review

Commodities were mixed for the week. Copper (JJC A) has risen the most this week, by 0.85%, after soaring more than 5% in the previous week. Heavy snows in Chile have dragged supply down, boosting prices. Silver (SLV C+) is again the best performer for the rolling month with a 14.63% gain, largely reflecting its ascent following the Brexit market sell-off. Oil (USO A) is the worst performer for the week and the rolling month, tumbling 4.55% and 10.76%, respectively, as a supply glut weighed on prices despite buoyant demand. Crude oil inventories have shrunk for nine consecutive weeks, with the latest report showing stockpiles diminished by 2.3 million barrels, but that good news has not had a big impact on prices.

Currency Review

Currencies have posted mixed performance. The U.S. dollar has been the best performer for the week and the rolling month, up 0.56% and 3.25%, respectively. That is largely due to the relative good performance of the U.S. economy, with the latest data showing the jobs market is on strong footing and the retail market is improving. The Australian dollar (FXA A-) is the worst performer of the week, dropping 1.47%, on expectations the Reserve Bank of Australia will cut interest rates when it meets in two weeks. For the rolling month, the British pound (FXB A-) remains the worst performer, weighed down by the Brexit referendum. The currency has fallen 10.26% over the last 30 days.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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