The May rains dampened the equities market and stock exchange traded funds as softening global data and a worsening Eurozone financial outlook pushed investors to switch to “risk-off” mode.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 6.7% over May. The S&P 500 declined 6.8% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 7.3%.
From the start of May, the markets were moving on a downtrend as a result of the weaker U.S. data. While there were smatterings of positive U.S. economic data, such as an improving housing market, Eurozone problems kept the markets suppressed.
The market declines were exacerbated once political elections in Europe concluded with dramatic losses from incumbent parties, raising doubts about the Eurozone’s commitment to austerity measures and Greece’s ability to stick with the euro. Now, the problems have shifted to the much larger Spanish economy and its banking problems. [ETFs to Weather Europe’s Debt Storm]
Additionally, in mid-month, a surprising $2 billion trading loss from JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) banks shook the financial markets. [ETF Spotlight: Financial Sector]
Facebook (NYSE: FB) also made its stock market debut, but failed to garner a strong initial public offering uptick as the launch was mired with controversy and delays. [Social Media ETF Down 3% as Facebook Begins Trading]
Meanwhile, investors dived into safe-haven U.S. Treasuries, driving yields on the benchmark 10-yield bonds to below 1.6%, new record lows. [Treasury ETFs Hit All-Time Highs in Stock Rout]