American stocks had a choppy, but generally positive session in Wednesday trading , although huge gains were hard to come by. Instead, the Dow finished ahead by just seven points, the S&P 500 added a single point, and the Nasdaq slumped by five points on the day.
From a sector look, consumer goods and industrial goods did well, along with big oil, while big industrial conglomerates, banks, and smaller travel-oriented service firms led the way on the downside. Meanwhile, European trading was also mixed, although many indexes across the continent had a late session surge to close out Wednesday trading.
This choppy session also saw little movement in the forex or bond trading markets, as the dollar was flat and the ten year rose just two basis points. However, investors did see a big reduction in German bond rates, as well as Italian rates which moved further away from the 6% level (read Three Impressive Small Cap Dividend ETFs)
Investors did see a generally positive session in the commodity market, led by softs and gold. Livestock was another big winner on the day, while industrial metals and WTI crude did see their prices slip to close out Wednesday.
ETF trading continued its relatively slow August period as many popular ETFs saw volume that was less than half of their usual daily average. This trend stretched across commodities and into both domestic and international products, although we did see some outsized trading in a few sector funds, some bond ETFs, and a number of global products as well.
In particular, ETF investors saw the PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (PBS) trade far more shares than usual. The fund usually does about 44,000 shares in a normal session but saw 164,000 shares move hands in Wednesday trading (Read Play A Consumer Recovery with these Discretionary ETFs).
This solid volume, which was due to a few block trades, came as PBS breached its 52 week high and added about 0.5% on the session. The bump in interest also came right before the fund’s top component News Corp (NWSA), was due to report earnings, an event that could potentially act as a catalyst for the rest of the sector to close out the week.
Another fund which saw an increase in trading volume was the United States Gasoline Fund (UGA). This product usually does about 38,000 shares in a normal day but saw volume hit the 103,000 share mark today (see Inside The Forgotten Energy ETFs).
Although the ETF lost about 0.5% today, some are likely honing in on the fund due to the recent refinery fire in California. The recent blaze at a major Northern California plant looks to hamper production of gasoline refinement and could create some volatility in the product’s price over the next few days. Due to this, UGA could see more volume in the days ahead as well, especially if the damage looks to be more severe than originally thought.
(see more in the Zacks ETF Center)