by Daniela Pylypczak
U.S. equity markets lost some of their footing Monday, as a slew of news reports had stocks struggling to remain in positive territory throughout the day. And as always, eurozone drama took center stage yet again, as investors digested the outcome of Greece's elections over the weekend, as well as Spain's intensifying debt crisis. While the markets got their reality check today, stocks closed mixed after straddling the flat line for the majority of the day: the Dow Jones Industrial Averaged inched 0.2% higher, while the S&P 500 gained a mere 0.1% and Nasdaq cinched the biggest win with its 0.8% climb.
On the home front, U.S. home builders' sentiment came in better than expected for the month of June, rising to the highest level in more than five years. In the commodities space, crude oil continued its slide, posting a slight loss as eurozone debt drama threatens to crush oil demand. Despite the slowdown in oil markets, natural gas futures shot up 6.8% higher, continuing the recent uptick in the commodity.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) was one of the best performers, gaining a cool 6.64% on the day. As investors digested the volatile short-term weather forecasts, a factor that largely impacts the price of natural gas, this ETF gapped higher at the open, only to charge even higher throughout the day. UNG closed just shy of $18.34 per share.
The Barclays iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) was one of the worst performers, shedding 8.22% on the day. As investors anticipate this Wednesday's FOMC announcement, volatility eased, while hopes for further stimulus helped cool off the market. Note that a lack of QE, or any kind of doubt given by the Fed, will likely lead to a pop in this ETN.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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