At the hands of a mixed batch of economic data last week that
culminated in Friday's disappointing March jobs report, U.S.
stocks suffered their worst weekly performance of 2013.
When all was said and done, the S&P 500 lost nearly one
percent on the week and buyers stepped in Friday afternoon to
prevent the week from finishing on an outright dreadful note.
In the week ahead, bulls looking to reignite this rally will
have their hands full. There are plenty of speeches of by Federal
Reserve members, including Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday, data
points and earnings reports to deal with.
That is right. Dow component Alcoa (NYSE:
) kicks-off first-quarter earnings season Monday with is
after-the-bell report. More significant names follow later in the
week and those reports could have an impact on some of the
Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE:
) Financials have had their day(s) in the sun as the Financial
Select Sector SPDR was one of the better-performing high beta
sector SPDRs in the first quarter. However, there are signs
market momentum is waning and that could bode ill for this
For example, Dow components and XLF holdings American Express
) and Bank of America (NYSE:
) lost 3.2 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, last week.
Bank of America closed below the psychologically important $12
mark. XLF will be put to the test this Friday with earnings
reports from J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:
) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:
). Aggressive traders may want to consider preparing for the
worst with the Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (NYSE:
United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSE:
) Natural gas futures have staged a stunning rally over the past
six weeks, jumping to a 20-month high on Friday. The combination
of declining reserves and colder-than-expected weather in some
parts of the U.S. is helping the cause for natural gas bulls.
Baker Hughes (NYSE:
) said last week that the number rigs exploring for gas fell by
14 to 375, the lowest level since 1999.
Those factors have UNG trading at its highest levels since
November. Pivotal to the fund's near-term fortunes are its
ability to break and hold above the $23 area. More conservative
investors can play favorable natural gas trends with the First
Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (NYSE:
benefited from some bullish analyst comments
on at least one of its holdings last week.
The more aggressive among us can look at the ProShares Ultra
DJ-UBS Natural Gas (NYSE:
) or the ProShares UltraShort DJ-UBS Natural Gas (NYSE:
) in the event of a drop in natural gas futures.
ProShares UltraShort FTSE China 25 (NYSE:
) Bad news for China bulls. The ProShares UltraShort FTSE China
25 gained 1.6 percent last Friday on better than triple its
average daily volume to finish the week with a gain of nearly
seven percent. The bearish China play is now flirting with a
break above its 200-day moving average, a positive sign, and with
CPI and PPI data looming Monday, FXP could keep running to the
For more on ETFs, click
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