Although some weak China data pushed stocks lower to start the session, markets soon rallied and finished the day higher once again. The cause of the disappointment was lackluster growth in Chinese exports and imports, although this was shrugged off and traders propelled stocks to another solid end to the week.
Thanks to this, the Dow rose by 0.3%, the Nasdaq added 0.1%, and the S&P 500 finished the week up 0.2%, giving a 1.1% weekly gain for the key benchmark. Advancers beat out decliners just barely, while firms hitting new highs outpaced those reaching new lows by a 10 to 1 margin.
In terms of sector performances, investors saw weakness in the agricultural space, as well as some of the food related service firms. Tech and financials held up well, while health care and some major basic materials firms had solid performances as well (read Time to Worry About the Philippines ETF?).
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar was pretty much flat in Friday trading, although there was some volatility in the middle part of the session. However, we did some solid moves in the bond market, as safe havens witnessed some yield compression while shaky European bonds did edge higher in Friday trading.
Commodity trading did see some losses, as natural gas plunged by 5.5% while wheat, cotton, and orange juice also suffered multi-percentage point gains as well. Precious metals were flat, while soybeans led the way on the upside for the agricultural market.
ETF trading was once again lighter than normal, as many currency, bond and broad market products saw less volume than usual. This trend extended over into much of the leverage market, as well as some of the global sector ETFs as well.
Despite this, investors did see some outsized volume in a few segments, particularly in the case of the iShares MSCI Israeli Capped Investable Market Index Fund (EIS). The product usually does volume of about 17,000 shares but saw more than 94,000 change hands today (read Is The Israel ETF Back On Track?).
This came while EIS saw just a modest gain of 0.3% although it continues the recent bullish trend for the fund. Perhaps some investors are looking to this product now after its summer swoon for some easy gains in what has been a very low volume market.
Another ETF which saw an outsized level of volume was the EGShares Brazil Infrastructure ETF (BRXX). This fund usually does about 29,000 shares in volume a day but saw a spike to just under 109,000 in Friday trading (read Five Emerging Market Infrastructure ETFs for the Coming Boom).
This bump came as BRXX added 1.6%, outpacing some of the other major Brazil ETFs in the process. Recent reports on more infrastructure spending, and the Olympics—which hit the country four years from now—have also acted as a catalyst for interest in this product, especially as concerns continue to build over other major emerging markets at this time.
(see more in the Zacks ETF Center)