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 started in full force with U.S. President Donald Trump giving his first speech before Congress. Feedback across the board was very positive, while markets cheered Trump’s ’presidential’ tone. New home sales for the month of January stood at 555,000, below consensus of 576,000 but higher than the previous month’s figure of 535,000. Consumer sentiment in the U.S. continued to improve in February, rising to 96.3 from 95.7 previously. The number of U.S. oil rigs increased by three to 754 for the week ending February 24, according to Baker Hughes. The rig count in North America is up by 13 to 1,095 over the same period. Durable goods orders edged up 1.8% in January, marking the first increase after two months of small decreases. The second revision of U.S. GDP showed an advance of 1.9% in the fourth quarter, somewhat below estimates of 2.1% but unchanged compared to the first estimate. U.S. trade deficit widened to $69.2 billion in January, from $65 billion previously. The deficit was mainly driven by an increase in imported consumer goods and vehicles. U.S. Chicago PMI surged to 57.4 in February, compared to just 50.3 in the previous month. Pundits had expected a showing of 53. U.S. consumer confidence also advanced to 114.8 in February compared to 111.8 in the previous month. ISM manufacturing index was up at 57.7 in February, higher than 56 in January. U.S. crude oil inventories were up 1.5 million barrels for the week ending February 24, the eighth consecutive weekly increase, as the shale industry is reviving on higher crude prices. Personal income in the U.S. increased 0.4% in January, beating consensus of 0.3%. In the previous month, personal income grew by 0.3%. UK manufacturing PMI decreased to 54.6 in February from 55.7 in the prior month. Manufacturing PMI in China stood at 51.7 in February, up from 51 in January.
Risk Appetite Review
The broad market (SPY A) has rallied more than 1.19%, within a whisker of becoming the top performer. Low Volatility ETF (SPLV A) was the best performer with a gain of 1.20%. High Beta ETF (SPHB B-) and Equal Weight (RSP B+) were the worst performers for the week, rising 0.96% each. Sign up for ETFdb Pro and get access to real-time ratings on over 1,900 U.S. listed ETFs.
Major Index Review
Another week, another rally. Global equities were all up for the week, with one major exception. Dow Jones (DIA A-) was the best performer with a gain of 1.36%, boosted by strong data and Donald Trump’s fine speech before Congress. (DIA A-) was also the best monthly performer, advancing 5.62%. After a good last week, emerging markets (EEM A-) disappointed over the past five days, dropping 1.48%. A strong dollar and the prospect of rising interest rates in the U.S. hurt emerging markets. For the rolling month, iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA A) was again the worst performer, gaining just 1.54%. The index includes stocks from Europe, Australasia and the Far East. To see how these indices performed last week, check out ETF Scorecard: February 24 Edition.
Foreign Equity Review
Foreign equities were mostly down this week. Brazil (EWZ B+) has again started to slide, after a few good weeks. A rising dollar has clearly had a negative impact. This fall may only prove to be a bump on the road to a higher valuation. The index is still undervalued compared to its peers, while the government’s market-friendly reforms should provide a good dose of confidence to investors. For the rolling month, Russia (RSX B+) was the worst performer, falling 6.53%. Germany (EWG B+) is the best performer this week, rising 1.54%. The nation’s equities act as a safe haven in continental Europe as investors nervously await elections in the Netherlands and France. If Marine Le Pen wins the French presidency, outflows from France will continue, with most of the money potentially landing in Germany. For the rolling month, India (EPI B+) is the best performer, advancing 5.88%. 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 were mixed for the week. After a slew of strong weeks, silver (SLV C+) is now the worst performer, dropping 3.28%. Although natural gas (UNG B-) advanced the most from the pack, the tepid gains of 1.80% were not enough to shed the whopping monthly losses, which now stand at 13.04%. Supply from the shale revolution has abounded, while a warm winter in the U.S. put pressure on demand. For more on natural gas, read Trending: Natural Gas on Roller Coaster as Demand Slows Down. Gold (GLD A-) is the best monthly performer, up 2.0%.
The U.S. dollar was king this past week week, being the only currency from the pack posting gains. The greenback (UUP A) rose 1.23% on strong economic data in the U.S. and a Donald Trump speech before Congress that was well received by the media and the markets. The dollar is also the best performer for the rolling month, up 2.44%. The British pound (FXB A-) fell nearly 2% in the past week, as disappointing macro data, including dropping manufacturers’ confidence, weighed on the currency. The euro (FXE A), the worst performer for the rolling month, was dragged down by jitters about the upcoming elections in France and the Netherlands. Use our Head-to-Head Comparison tool to compare two currency ETFs, such as (UUP A) and (FXB 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.