To help investors keep up with the markets, we present our ETF Scorecard. The Scorecard takes a step back and looks at how various asset classes across the globe are performing. The weekly performance is from last Friday’s open to this week’s Thursday close.
- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe secured the Japanese premiership on Sunday in a landslide victory that gave his Liberal Democratic coalition a firm grip on both houses of parliament. The win likely signals the continuation of ‘Abenomics,’ which is finally beginning to pay off. The coalition’s “super majority” will ensure it is business as usual from the perspective of fiscal and monetary policy.
- Wall Street’s trend-setting record highs continued this week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average setting a fresh milestone. The blue-chip index was supported by a bevvy of better-than-expected earnings results from the likes of Caterpillar, 3M Co. (MMM) and United Technologies (UTX).
- It hasn’t been all good news for U.S. stocks. A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX climbed to six-week highs as earnings season gave mixed signals. The VIX is known to trade inversely with the S&P 500 roughly three-quarters of the time.
- That being said, the technology sector has more than delivered this quarter. Amazon (AMZN), Alphabet (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) – with their combined $2 trillion market cap – beat expectations and saw their stocks rise in after-hours trading.
- Crude oil also surged to six-month highs amid signs that Saudi Arabia was planning to extend OPEC’s production cuts well into 2018. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for December delivery approached $53.00 a barrel Thursday, while Brent made its way toward $60.
- Gold prices plunged to three-month lows Thursday as the dollar broadened its rally against a basket of global peers. The U.S. dollar index is trading at its highest level since July.
- In monetary policy, the European Central Bank (ECB) kept interest rates on hold Thursday, but signaled a substantial shift in its quantitative easing program. Beginning in January, the ECB will cut its monthly bond purchases in half to €30 billion. However, policymakers also decided to extend the stimulus program until the end of September.
- Canada’s central bank also held off adjusting monetary policy following back-to-back rate hikes. The Bank of Canada struck a decidedly dovish tone in expressing the nation’s near-term economic risks. This reflected in the performance of the loonie, which declined sharply against the U.S. dollar.
Risk Appetite Review
- Risk appetite declined over the past five days, as jittery investors monitored corporate earnings. From a risk perspective, High Beta (SPHB ) was the worst performer, falling 0.64% this week.
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Major Index Review
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA ) was the lone gainer on Wall Street over the past five days. The blue-chip average returned 0.59%. Meanwhile, the tech-driven Nasdaq (QQQ ) and large-cap S&P 500 (SPY ) finished in negative territories.
- Small caps also struggled, with the iShares Russell 2000 Index (IWM ) declining 1.03% for the week.
- From a sector standpoint, materials (XLB ) led the way, rising 1.66% during the week. Other gainers included utilities (XLU ) and financials (XLF ). To explore materials ETFs, click here.
- Most S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory over the past five days. Health care (XLV ) and real estate (XLRE ) were the biggest laggards, falling 1.98% apiece.
Foreign Equity Review
- Foreign equity markets put up mixed results, with Brazil’s iShares MSCI Index (EWZ ) plunging 4.96% this week. With the decline, the fund has now dropped more than 3% over the past four weeks.
- Other decliners for the week included VanEck Vectors Russia (RSX ) and the iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (EWU ). U.K. stocks are feeling the Brexit blues. Prepare accordingly by reading the following article.
- On the opposite side of the ledger, Indian stocks were the biggest gainers of the week, with (EPI ) adding 1.37%.
- Crude prices recently set new six-week highs on supply-side optimism. In response, the United States Natural Gas Fund (USO ) spiked 2.72%.
- With the exception of crude oil, most commodities finished lower this week. Gold (GLD ) and silver (SLV ) tanked as the greenback gained ground on world currencies. Use our Head-to-Head Comparison tool to compare gold and silver ETFs on a variety of criteria such as performance, AUM, trading volume and expenses
- Meanwhile, copper (JJC ) settled lower for the week, but continued to trade more than 9% higher for the month.
- The U.S. dollar (UUP ) reigned supreme in the final week of October, gaining nearly 1.3% against a basket of world peers.
- The Australian dollar was the worst performer, with (FXA ) plunging more than 2%. The Aussie was rattled after weak consumer price data cast doubt on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s rate-hike forecast.
- Meanwhile, the euro (FXE ) declined after the ECB extended its stimulus program.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.