A week that saw many equity benchmarks hit 18-month highs closed on a relatively quiet note, as investors became less worried about Greece’s financial woes and shrugged off a downward revision to fourth quarter GDP growth. Elsewhere, the South Korea ETF closed lower after an explosion an a navy vessel near the North Korean maritime border sparked concerns of escalating tensions.
The ETFdb 60 Index, a benchmark measuring the performance of asset classes available through exchange-traded products, added 2.2 points, or 0.2%, to close at 1,043.57.
The biggest winner in the ETFdb 60 on Friday was the iShares FTSE/Xinhua 25 Index Fund (NYSEARCA:FXI), which finished up 2.0%. FXI’s gains came after investors Industrial & Commercial Bank reported a 16% growth in 2009 profits. The bank also announced that it planned to raise nearly $4 billion dollars by issuing convertible bonds. The Global X China Financials ETF (NYSEARCA:CHIX) added 1.9% on the day. Easing concerns about Greece’s financial situation also contributed to Friday’s rally in Asian markets.
Losing ground on Friday was the United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEARCA:UNG), which lost 2.2% after natural gas futures prices dropped below $4 per million British Thermal Units for the first time since September 2009. The slide came after the Energy Information Administration reported an injection of 11 billion cubic feet of gas into underground storage last week, likely signaling an early end to the winter withdrawal season.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.