Weekly Update: Some Commodity ETFs Faltering

May 12th at 6:00am by John Spence

U.S. equity ETFs saw their second straight weekly loss although the market was fairly resilient despite fears Greece will drop out of the euro and JP Morgan surprising investors with a $2 billion loss.

However, the big ETF movers this week were in commodities. For example, the largest natural gas ETF U.S. Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG) vaulted 9% and is on a three-week winning streak.

Conversely, gold miner ETFs were hit hard this week and continue to underperform bullion. Physical gold ETFs have also been trending lower since March and gold prices traded below $1,600 an ounce this week.

The largest gold ETF, SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD), was on pace for a nearly 4% weekly pullback in Friday afternoon dealings.

ETF Overview

In stock ETFs, biotech paced the sector funds to the upside.

In bonds, U.S. Treasury funds were the leaders on the safety trade and the latest Eurozone debt concerns. Banks are quietly preparing themselves for the return of the drachma, the Greek currency, following the recent elections in the financially troubled country, Reuters reported Friday.

The top three unleveraged ETFs for the week were U.S. Natural Gas, U.S. 12 Month Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNL) and SPDR Biotech (NYSEArca: XBI). They gained at least 5%.

The bottom three unleveraged ETFs were iPath Cotton ETN (NYSEArca: BAL), ETFS Physical Palladium (NYSEArca: PALL) and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDXJ). There were down 7% or more.

In next week’s economic reports, look for data on consumer prices, retail sales, business inventories, homebuilder confidence and housing starts.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own GLD.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of John Spence, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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