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ETF Scorecard: March 2 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 was rich in economic data, with the prevailing themes of low European inflation and the U.S. president’s move to impose tariffs. U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, in a move that caught the markets by surprise. Investors now fret this is the first shot in an ensuing trade war with a host of countries, including China and Australia, that will lead to lower economic output across the board. The market reaction was brutal, with equities tumbling globally. U.S. durable goods orders disappointed the market, falling by 3.7% in January compared to the previous month. Analysts had expected a drop of 2%. Year-over-year, however, orders are up a solid 6.8%, although significantly lower compared to December’s revised rise of 11.3%. Core goods orders painted a brighter picture, down just 0.2%. U.S. consumer confidence shot up to 130.8 in February from 125.4, indicating a strong sentiment. Pundits had forecasted a rise to 126.4. Eurozone’s CPI is expected to decrease to 1.2% in February 2018 from 1.3% in January, according to Eurostat. The figure is in line with expectations, although lower inflation for longer will reduce the European Central Bank’s impetus to raise interest rates. Energy is the main driver of inflation in Europe, followed by services and food, alcohol and tobacco. U.S. GDP edged up 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a second estimate. The figure was lower by 0.1% percentage points, although it was in line with forecasts. Crude oil inventories have resumed their march upward, rising by three million barrels in the week ended February 23. In the previous week, crude stockpiles fell by 1.6 million barrels. Inventories are 18% below their levels a year ago, an indicator of the recovery that took place in the sector. U.K. manufacturing PMI came in at 55.2 for the month of January, largely in line with expectations and marking a slight decline compared to the previous month. Meanwhile, U.S. manufacturing PMI came in at 60.8 for February, almost 1.7% higher than the January reading of 59.1. U.S. unemployment claims came in at 210,000, down 10,000 compared to the previous week and almost 16,000 lower than analysts’ expectations.

Risk Appetite Review

Markets have dropped this week, as volatility is returning. Low Volatility (SPLV A) was the best performer for the week, dropping by 1.33%. Meanwhile, the broad market (SPY A) declined 1.50%, the second-worst performance from the pack. Equal Weight (RSP B+) was surprisingly the worst performer with a fall of 1.72%. Sign up for ETFdb.com Pro and get access to real-time ratings on over 1,900 U.S.-listed ETFs.  

Major Index Review

Global equities all declined this week. Emerging markets (EEM A-) were the worst performers in this mini-selloff, tumbling by more than 3% during the week due to a stronger U.S. dollar and weakness in China. Technology stocks (QQQ A-) proved to be a relative safe haven, recording the smallest declines from the pack during the week at less than 1%. Strong results by a host of exponents in the technology sector, including Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX), limited the selloff. The tech sector was also the best performer for the rolling month, down 2.41%. European stocks (EFA A) are the worst performers for the rolling month, down 7%, primarily due to a strong euro and relative weak economic data of late. To see how these indices performed a week before last, check out ETF Scorecard: February 23 Edition.  

Sectors Review

All sectors were down this week, with the exception of telecom. The telecom sector (XTL A) recovered this week, amidst a broad market selloff. (XTL A) was up 1.16%, after tumbling more than 4% in the previous week. The worst performer for the week is the industrial sector (XLI A), down 2.91%. Meanwhile, the energy sector (XLE A) is again the worst performer for the rolling month, collapsing by nearly 12%. For the rolling month, the tech sector (XLK A) reported the smallest decline of 1.41%.  

Foreign Equity Review

Foreign equities were all down. The Chinese stock market (FXI A-) was the worst performer both for the week and the rolling month, falling 4.58% and 9.50%, respectively, as the prospect of a trade war with the U.S. is rising after Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. India (EPI B+) was the best performer, dropping by just above 2%. For the rolling month, Brazil (EWZ B+) continues to be the best performer as investors see value in the nation’s embattled stock market and potential for economic reform. 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 Review

Commodities were mixed. The Agriculture ETF (DBA A) was one of the few assets that rose this week, posting gains of nearly 2%. (DBA A) is also the best monthly performer with an advance of 2.64%. Copper (JJC A), meanwhile, recorded declines of 3.58% this week, in no small part due to a strong U.S. dollar. For the rolling month, the clear loser is natural gas (UNG B-), which nosedived as much as 17%. The drop came as the U.S. winter became mild after a few weeks of record-low temperatures. Use our Head-to-Head Comparison tool to compare two ETFs such as (DBA A) and (JJC A) on a variety of criteria such as performance, AUM, trading volume and expenses.  

Currency Review

The U.S. dollar (UUP A) continued its advance this week, rising by 0.51%, although the Japanese yen (FXY C+) was the best performer thanks to its safe-haven status. (FXY C+) was up 0.62% for the week and 2.13% for the rolling month. The British Pound (FXB A-) was the worst performer for the week, dropping by 1.48%, due to continued fundamental weakness and Brexit-related uncertainties. For the rolling month, the Australian dollar (FXA A-) is the worst monthly performer with a decline of 4.16%.  

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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