Nevertheless, second quarter corporate earnings helped push U.S. markets out of their malaise, with a greater-than-expected number of companies beating expectations.

Meanwhile, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen revealed confidence in the economy and the outlook, projecting a potential tapering of its $4.5 trillion bond stash to begin sometime this year and wind down in 2022. The Fed, though, will still maintain its low interest rate in face of a stubbornly depressed inflation level that remains below its 2% target.

Related: Investors Trim Safe ETF Bets Ahead of Seasonally Weak Month

The markets were also slightly subdued due to political uncertainty after the Trump administration’s failure to push through health care reform or a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Many observers saw the failure as a sign of trouble for the administration’s ability to enact its pro-growth economic agenda, including tax cuts and increased fiscal spending.

The market rally slightly leveled out in the final weeks of July as traders engaged in the time-honored tradition of profit taking after a record run-up in U.S. markets.

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