By Daniela Pylypczak
After ending on a relatively positive note last week, U.S equities faltered yesterday as retail sales came in worse than expected and investors prepare for a slew of corporate earnings. Though some might say that yesterday's decline is simply due to markets taking a necessary breather after Friday's wild trading session, many argue that second quarter earnings is what investors are really focused on right now. As earnings jitters heightened and markets await Bernanke's testimony later this week, stocks slipped into red territory: the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%, marking its seventh decline in eight sessions, while the S&P inched 0.2% lower and Nasdaq dropped 0.4%.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported a third straight decline for retail sales in June, coming in much below economists' expectations of a slight increase. Overseas, the eurozone consumer price index was reported unchanged for the month of June at 2.4%. Investors will be keeping a close eye on several major headlines coming out this week, including earnings reports for IBM (NYSE:IBM), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), along with any commentary or hints of more stimulus from Ben Bernanke.
The Invesco PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (NYSEARCA:DBC) was one of the best performers yesterday, gaining 1.24% during the session. As crude oil, Brent crude, gasoline, and corn futures surged today, this ETF gapped significantly higher at the open, only to push higher throughout the day. DBC settled just below its high of $27.08 a share.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEARCA:UNG) was one of the worst performers, shedding 2.45% on the day. Natural gas futures tumbled yesterday after concerns over U.S. storage levels heightened yet again, putting downward pressure on this ETF. UNG gapped slightly lower at the open, only to decline sharply during mid-morning trading hours.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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