U.S. equities and stock exchange traded funds ended February on a sullen note, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapping a 12-day winning streak, as cautious investors await President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress.
Nevertheless, U.S. stocks took off over February, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 4.5%, the Nasdaq Composite 3.0% higher and the S&P 500 up 3.4%.
The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) and Vanguard 500 Index (NYSEArca: VOO) rose 3.5% over the past month while the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) gained 4.1% and PowerShares QQQ (NasdaqGM: QQQ) increased 3.7%.
The best performing non-leveraged exchange traded products for the past month include the iPath Bloomberg Nickel Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: JJN) up 18.9%, BioShares Biotechnology Clinical Trials Fund (NasdaqGM: BBC) up 15.1% and ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF (NYSEArca: SBIO) up 14.9%.
The strengthening global economy helped support demand for industrial metals, including nickel. Additionally, the nickel market experienced its first material deficit in six years in 2016, with Glencore anticipating another deficit due to both lower supplies and further drawdowns on inventories, which could continue to support nickel prices.
Meanwhile, biotechs may be rebounding as traders look to attractive segments of the market in a prolonged rally. Additionally, market observers are growing more bullish on the sector as a Republican-led Congress and administration could enact reforms to free cash held overseas for tax reason by large U.S. pharmaceutical companies, which could pave the way for increased acquisitions in the sector.
On the other hand, the worst non-leveraged ETPs of the past month include thehe United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG) down 22.6%, United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNL) down 15.9% and iPath Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: GAZ) down 14.5%.