ETF trading volume was very quiet on Friday but it could be just the calm before the storm as investors prepare for key elections in Greece and next week’s Federal Reserve meeting.
The Greek ETF, Global X FTSE Greece 20 (GREK), was rallying for a third straight session on heavy trading volume Friday as voters prepare to return to the polls this weekend after the inconclusive election in May. If leftist party Syriza prevails, investors are concerned Greece may end up leaving the euro.
U.S. equity ETFs were on track to rise for the second week in afternoon trading Friday. The S&P 500 was poised for a weekly advance of 0.9%, the Dow added 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite lagged with a slight 0.1% gain.
This week’s top gainer in ETFs was U.S. Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG). The fund surged 15% Thursday after supply grew less than traders had expected.
“The market was wrong-footed ahead of the EIA number and the new shorts that piled in have turned and covered,” said Eugene McGillan, a broker and trader with Tradition Energy, in a CNBC report. “Now we’re triggering fresh technical buying.”
Emerging market ETFs and particularly BRIC funds were strong this week, led by China and Russia. Brazil and India round out the so-called BRIC countries.
Conversely, several commodity ETFs lost ground this week. The steepest decliners included funds tracking grains, agriculture and oil.
The top three unleveraged ETFs this week in Friday afternoon trade were U.S. Natural Gas, iShares MSCI Poland (EPOL) and iShares FTSE China 25 (FXI). They were track for weekly gains of more than 4%.
The bottom three unleveraged ETFs this week were Teucrium Corn Fund (CORN), iPath Grains (JJG) and PowerShares DB Agriculture (DBA). They lost over 2%.
Next week’s U.S. economic data features reports the housing market, including homebuilder confidence, housing starts and existing home sales.
However, next week’s main event will be the Federal Reserve announcement on interest rates and the economy on Wednesday afternoon. Fed chief Ben Bernanke will also hold a press conference.
Global X FTSE Greece 20