ETFs are off to a flat start Friday, a day after Wall Street hit two-year highs, as worries from overseas once again came back into play after Ireland was hit with a downgrade.
- In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a two-year extension of Bush-era tax cuts just before midnight Thursday after weeks of intense debate. Analysts said this event largely went as expected and was unlikely to have much market impact, according to MarketWatch. Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury (NYSEArca: EDV) is up nearly 2% this morning, unswayed by optimism about the cuts.
- European stocks are down on Friday as disappointment over the European Union’s response to the debt crisis, a downgrade of Ireland’s credit rating and heavy losses for pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca PLC all contributed to the decline. Benefiting from the downtrend is the ProShares UltraShort MSCI Europe ETF (NYSEArca: EPV), which is up nearly 2.5% this morning.
- In Asian markets, Taiwanese shares climbed on Friday to a fresh 31-month high on continued fund inflows, while Chinese stocks remained sluggish on persistent concerns over further tightening measures from Beijing. The Taiwanese currency, which has already gained 2% against the U.S. dollar so far this month, continued its rise. Despite the reports, iShares MSCI Taiwan (NYSEArca: EWT) is up only slightly.
- In corporate news Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) shares are up almost 6% today after the software group beat analysts’ expectations with its second-quarter report late Thursday. Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) rose more than 2% after the group beat forecasts for third-quarter earnings, aided by buoyant sales for its BlackBerry smartphones, according to MarketWatch. iShares Goldman Sachs Software (NYSEArca: IGV) is up slightly this morning; Oracle is 8.1% of the ETF.
Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.
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