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ETF Scorecard: March 9 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 full of events, with the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and the Italian elections taking center stage. The results of the Italian elections raised more questions than answers, although one thing is clear – Eurosceptic and anti-immigration parties gained ground, while establishment politics were dealt a heavy blow. Now the three poles – center-right coalition led by anti-Euro Lega Nord, establishment PD and populist Five Star Movement – need to start negotiations to form a government. Failure to do so will most likely lead to new elections, although the most likely outcome is a coalition between the center-right and Matteo Renzi’s PD. Across the ocean, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, but exempted Canada and Mexico as NAFTA negotiations are ongoing. The levies will come into effect in two weeks but all countries will be allowed to negotiate exclusions. The European Central Bank opted to keep interest rates unchanged, although the banking watchdog removed language that suggested it was ready to increase the pace of bond buying if needed. The dropping of the easing bias has increased expectations that the ECB will normalize its monetary policy. Media reports also indicated that the ECB plans to end its quantitative easing program by the end of the year. U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index continues to be strong, coming in at 59.5 and beating analysts’ expectations of 58.5. However, the February gauge is slightly lower compared to the previous month. ADP indicated that February will bring another blockbuster employment report, with 235,000 jobs added in the U.S. compared to 205,000 expected by analysts. U.S. crude oil inventories have risen for the second week in a row, advancing by 2.4 million barrels for the week ended March 2. U.S. unemployment claims came in at 231,000 for the week ended March 3, a little worse than consensus estimates of 220,000. In the prior week, claims stood at an impressive 49-year low of 210,000.

Risk Appetite Review

Markets have been on a tear this week. High Beta (SPHB B-) is the best performer from the pack, advancing as much as 4.91% this week. With investors embracing risk, Low Volatility (SPLV A) is the worst performer for the week, posting an advance of just 2.7%. The broad market (SPY A) was strong, soaring 3.12% this week. 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 were all up, despite trade war fears. Small-cap stocks (IWM B+) posted the best performance from the pack, advancing 5.18% this week, as investors plowed money into the asset class because it is the least likely to be hit by a trade war. European shares (EFA A) are again the worst performers this week, due to a strong euro and a slightly hawkish European Central Bank. (EFA A) is also the worst performer for the rolling month, up only 1.31%. Technology stocks (QQQ A-), meanwhile, remain the best performers for the rolling month, up 8.91%, thanks to the strong performances of Amazon (AMZN) and Netflix (NFLX) To see how these indices performed a week before last, check out ETF Scorecard: March 2 Edition.

Sectors Review

All sectors were up this week. The telecom sector (XTL A) continued its strong recovery, surging more than 5% in the past five days. Because (XTL A) is largely exposed to the U.S. market, it will suffer the least from a potential trade war between the U.S. and other countries. Utilities (XLU A), unsurprisingly, are the worst performers, edging up 0.45% in the past five days, as investors shunned less volatile assets. The tech sector (XLK A) is the best performer for the rolling month, up more than 10%, while the energy industry (XLE A) is the single faller for the past 30 days, down 1.55%.

Foreign Equity Review

Foreign equities were all up with one exception. Germany (EWG B+) is the best performer for the week with an advance of 3.45%, with the index recovering its losses for the rolling month. India (EPI B+), meanwhile, was the only faller from the pack this week, down 0.45%, mostly due to a widening probe into a $2 billion fraud that overwhelmed state-run lenders. For the rolling month, the Chinese stock market (FXI A-) is the worst performer with a decline of 2.42%. Brazilian stock market (EWZ B+) remains the best monthly performer with a rise of 3.71%. 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 Review

Commodities were mixed. Natural gas (UNG B-) has risen 1.69% during the past week, representing the best weekly performance, as March is on track to have lower temperatures than expected. Copper (JJC A) recorded the weakest performance for the week, down 1.64%, as demand from China is dropping. (JJC A) is also the worst performer for the rolling month, down 4.38%. Agricultural commodities (DBA A) remain the best performers for the rolling month, up 3.29%, as bad weather across the globe is expected to hurt a host of crops, including wheat. 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 Australian dollar (FXA A-) was the strongest from the pack this week, recovering some of the losses recorded previously. (FXA A-) is up 0.52% this week. The aussie, however, is the worst performer for the rolling month with a drop of 0.88%. As investors flocked to riskier assets, the Japanese yen (FXY C+) was largely avoided. After being the best performer last week, (FXY C+) is now down 0.88%, although its performance remains the strongest for the rolling month, up 2.96%.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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