Investors returned from a long holiday weekend with a lot more than leftovers to digest. The crisis in Dubai continued to evolve, with uncertainty over the UAE’s ultimate involvement in Dubai the latest cause for concern. Meanwhile, India surprised investors by reporting GDP growth of nearly 8% for the year, likely setting the stage for interest rate hikes early next year. Back in the U.S., all eyes were focused on online retailers as “Cyber Monday” marked another start to the holiday shopping season.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of the universe of investable assets available through ETFs, added 4.10 points to close the month on a positive note. Gainers outnumbered losers by nearly three-to-one on moderate volume.
The ETFdb 60 was kept in check by by the United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEARCA:UNG), which lost almost 7% amid continued concerns over a glut in supply. Recent data from the Energy Department show that natural gas inventories in the U.S. are at their highest level since 1994. And the glut of supply isn’t limited to the U.S. Earlier this month, Murwab, a Qatari liquified natural gas tanker, delivered the first shipment to the U.S. from the Persian Gulf since June 2008, supplying enough fuel to heat 9 million homes for a day according to Bloomberg. According to a recent report (pdf) from the Potential Gas Committee, natural gas reserves may be almost 40% higher than estimated two years ago, reflecting both a dropoff in demand and enhanced technologies allowing more efficient extraction and transfer of the commodity.
Among the big winners on Monday was the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index Fund (NYSEARCA:IYR), which added 3.8% for the session. A report released by Barclays Wealth on Monday morning indicated that 35% of respondents plan to increase their allocation to real estate over the next two years, reflecting that aversion to the asset at the middle of the recent financial collapse is beginning to ease. IYR has gained about 17% so far this year.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.