Stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) retreated early Friday ahead of the market’s three-day holiday weekend, with the end of a volatile May putting the Dow Jones down 7% for the month.
The modest dip in major indexes Friday morning is a stark contrast to the turbulent month for investors. Continued and increasing concerns about Europe’s debt worries were the main cause of lower stocks in May, as the euro has been dictating market performance and become a gauge for confidence in the continent’s economy. The currency fell modestly Friday to $1.2343, not quite as alarming as the four-year low investors dealt with in May. [U.S. Dollar Revels in Being Safe Haven.]

  • CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEArca: FXE)

Amid all the glum news, there are little rays of light. One of them is that business activity in the United States expanded in May for the eighth consecutive month. This is a good signal that the market’s volatility has so far not spread out to manufacturing and industrial sectors. The index fell to 59.7 from the previous month, but any number above 50 still indicates growth. [Why Copper ETFs are Swooning.]

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Industrials (NYSEArca: IYJ)

Financially speaking, consumers are getting more optimistic as income gains continue, represented in the Personal Income and Outlays report released Friday morning, which posted a 0.4% increase in personal income in April. However, after strong growth in spending the prior two months, April saw the consumer take a break, with overall personal consumption falling flat after a 0.6% rise in March, and 0.5% in February. Year on year, personal income growth came in at 2.5% for April, slipping from the 2.8% in growth from March. [Retail ETFs Wait for Next Move.]

  • SPDR S&P Retail (NYSEArca: XRT)

Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.B) said Friday that it struck a deal to buy most of the assets of East Resources for $4.7 billion, allowing a move into the coveted sector of natural gas contained in shale deposits. Shell is getting 1.05 million acres of so-called tight gas properties in North America. The largest oil and gas producer in Europe, Shell saw its shares increase by 0.36% in late morning trading Friday. [Following the Gyrations of Oil and Natural Gas ETFs]

United States Natural Gas (NYSEArca: UNG)

Aaron Hurst contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. 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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