Today saw markets end slightly up as investors anxiously await next week’s holiday shortened string of trading days. Markets were rather calm as the world holds its breath for the outcome of Monday’s meeting of European officials who will either sign off on a Greek debt deal or reject the proposed package, which could shatter equities. Friday’s trading session saw both the Dow and S&P finish in positive territory to cap off weeks in which both indexes grew by more than 1%. The Dow is dangerously close to breaking through the coveted 13,000 level with just 10 points to go, as it is currently sitting at highs not seen for over three years.
On that note, the Nasdaq closed at a decade high yesterday, falling in line with the rally that many have enjoyed to start off the year. Despite the bullish momentum on Wall Street, many are calling for déjà vu of 2011 when markets exhibited a similar pattern until turning sour later in the year. As we enter the President’s Day weekend, many are hoping that this is not the calm before the storm, as a failure to secure a second bailout for Greece will likely wreak havoc on equities while inciting more rioting that has plagued the nation for the past two years.
One of the biggest ETF winners was the infamous United States Natural Gas Fund LP (UNG), which has developed a knack for exhibiting massive daily movements. Today’s gains were no exception, as the fund jumped a handsome 4.3%, still leaving it down 13% on the year, mind you. The rare momentum for natural gas came from yet another pledge to cut natural gas production from a number of firms around the country. With gas prices sitting near historic lows, cutting production seems to be one of the few ways to keep stockpiles from increasing, especially because the warmer than average winter has curtailed demand for this commodity. Natural gas futures were able to post gains of roughly 8% on the week as UNG is climbing its way out of the doldrums.
One of the biggest ETF losers on the day was the Market Vectors TR Gold Miners (GDX), which turned in losses of 1.5%. The fund, which tracks some of the biggest gold miners around the world, lost momentum as gold began to falter. Although the precious metal itself only dipped by 0.2%, it should be noted that mining firms often present a leveraged play on their underlying products, meaning that a slight movement in gold can often translate into a large movement in GDX. Despite today’s losses, the fund is up over 5% on the year as gold has been fighting to establish upward momentum.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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