Australian markets are slowing as a result of a combination of factors, including speculation on Fed stimulus “tapering” and slowing growth out of China, a major importer of Australian natural resources.
Real estate investment trusts took a hit on the Fed speculation and concerns of rising interest rates, notably mortgage-backed REITs, or mREITs. The iShares FTSE NAREIT Mortgage Plus Capped Index Fund (NYSEArca: REM) and the rival Market Vectors Mortgage REIT Income ETF (NYSEArca: MORT) both declined over 10%. [Mortgage REIT ETFs Hit by Fed ‘Tapering’ Chatter]
Looking over May, the month started off with a slightly better-than-expected monthly jobs report that helped fuel the risk-on trade in equities. Moreover, stocks continued to gain as lower jobless claims pointed to solid growth for jobs and higher retail sales boosted confidence.
Stocks started to drift lower toward the end of May as the markets anticipated the Fed to begin tapering down stimulus. Nevertheless, positive economic data, including a sizable dip in jobless claims and improving home sales, helped offset some losses.
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Max Chen contributed to this article.