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U.S. Equities and Stock ETFs: The Calm after the Storm

In a rare two-day shutdown, U.S. markets and exchange traded funds paused at the start of the week after Hurricane Sandy raged across the Northeast and flooded the New York Stock Exchange, but stepped back into normal trading for the last three days.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5% for the week in afternoon trading while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.6% and the S&P 500 was up 0.8%.

Once the U.S. markets opened on Wednesday, equities traded listlessly in rather calm sessions for the remainder of the week. Nevertheless, some sectors, like homebuilders and consumer spending, gained in the wake of the Sandy on increased spending to replace and repair property in light of the extensive damages. [Five ETF Sectors to Watch After Hurricane Sandy]

On Friday, the new payroll numbers were better-than-expected, indicating strong job creation momentum and an improving economy.

Oil and other related energy commodities weakened over the week after oil consumption came to a standstill across the Northeast.

Gold prices stayed relatively range bound for most of the week but dipped below $1,700 per ounce Friday on the positive jobs report and economic conditions. [What the ETF Flows Show: Risk On(ish)]

With the U.S. exchange out of commission for two days, investors turned their attention to the foreign markets. International stock ETFs, notably the emerging markets, were among the top performing funds for the week.

The top three unleveraged ETFs this week track overseas markets and the CBOE Volatility Index, including the SPDR MSCI EM 50 ETF (EMFT) , Market Vectors Colombia ETF (COLX) and ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY) .

The bottom three unleveraged ETFs this week were iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Growth Index Fund (EGRW) , Global X China Materials ETF (CHIM) and First Trust Amex Biotechnology Index (FBT) .

Looking ahead, investors should watch for the non-manufacturing ISM Monday; EIA Petroleum inventories Wednesday; international trade and jobless claims on Thursday; and the import/export prices and consumer sentiment on Friday.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.