Greek drama is the name of the game. Selling forces prevailed for yet another day on Wall Street as uncertainty climbed following the latest decision to host another round of elections in Greece. On the home front, the S&P 500 Index led the way lower, sinking by 0.57% on the day, while the Nasdaq proved most resilient, shedding just 0.30%. Gold and oil extended their losses as well, settling near $1,545 an ounce and $93 a barrel respectively.
Better-than-expected economic data releases on the home front went largely unnoticed given the clouds of uncertainty looming over Europe. On the home front, retail sales grew by 0.1% in April, sailing past analyst estimates which called for a flat reading. The Empire State Index came in at 17.1, blowing past estimates of 9.5, as well as the previous reading of 6.6. To top it all off, the homebuilders index data was also better-than-expected, with the figure coming in at 29, versus estimates of 27 and the previous reading of 24.
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the best performers, gaining an impressive 5.31% on the day. Political unrest in Greece continues to translate into economic uncertainty, ultimately pushing volatility levels across global markets higher and higher. As such, the VIX Index soared yet again, hitting a multi-month high at the 22.7 level near the end of the trading session.
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(click to enlarge)The Van Eck Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) was one of the worst performers, losing 3.98% on the day. This ETF fell alongside gold prices for a second day in a row this week. Futures prices for the precious yellow metal inched lower throughout the day, finally managing to sell off before the closing bell and settle near the $1,545 level. Following today’s sell-off, GDX is down approximately 23% from a year-to-date performance perspective.
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