ETFS are showing for gains Friday as oil prices continued to stabilize and investors took a pause from global concerns that have the major indexes poised for weekly losses.
- The economy grew slower than initially estimated in the fourth quarter as government spending contracted more sharply and consumer spending was less robust, a government report showed on Friday. Gross domestic product grew at annualized rate of 2.8%, the Commerce Department said in its second estimate, marking a downward revision from its initial 3.2% estimate. Economists had expected GDP growth, which measures total goods and services output within U.S. borders, to be revised up to a 3.3% pace. The ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury (NYSEArca: UBT) is up slightly so far today.
- An index of consumer sentiment rose in February, according to media reports of a poll released Friday by Thomson Reuters and the University of Michigan. The gauge rose to 77.5 in February from 74.2 in January. A prior estimate for sentiment in February was for 75.1. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected a final February reading of 75.4. Direxion Daily Retail Bull 2x Shares (NYSEArca: RETL) is up more than 1% on the news.
- In Europe, shares rebounded from a five-day losing streak, helped by strength in the financial sector, though trading on London markets was halted for a systems glitch. European markets have been perturbed by the continued unrest in the Mideast and North Africa over the past week. Most recently, Libya has focused the attention of investors as the oil-producing country totters on the brink of civil war. Europe buys more than 85% of its oil from the country, ruled by Col. Moammar Gadhafi for more than 40 years. The Vanguard European ETF (NYSEArca: VGK) rose almost 1% in early trading.
- Light, sweet crude-oil prices edged higher but held below the $100-a-barrel level on Friday, as energy traders digested moves by Saudi Arabia and others to calm supply worries triggered by turmoil elsewhere in the Middle East and in North Africa. Indeed, oil had ended on a weaker note Thursday, after Saudi Arabia and the International Energy Agency said there were adequate supplies to make up for any disruption of Libya’s oil production. Oil ETFs like PowerShares DB Oil (NYSEArca: DBO) are keeping somewhat quiet today; it’s up 0.7% so far.
Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, 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.