ETF Trading Report: Platinum, Insurance ETFs in Focus - ETF News And Commentary

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American stock markets had another lackluster session, as equities slumped in the first hour but then made back all of their losses and finished the day at breakeven. In fact, the Dow was the 'biggest' mover with a four point loss, as the other two major benchmarks lost less than one point on the day.

From a sector perspective, banks, health care and utilizes led the way higher, while telecoms, independent oil companies and industrial good firms all were big losers. In terms of standouts, Best Buy and Lowe's were big losers, as Apple added 2.6% to become the biggest company of all-time , surpassing Microsoft's 1999 peak value of $620.58 billion (see ETF Shocker: Russell to Close 25 Funds ).

Forex and bond markets were a tad more active as the dollar lost about 0.1% while the U.S. ten year note saw yields slip one basis point as well. Meanwhile in Europe, German notes rose by a basis point while Spain and Italy again saw yields fall, this time with Spanish yields sinking to the 6.25% mark for mid-term debt.

Commodity markets were again volatile although they did move to the positives for the most part. Natural gas added about 2% along with similar moves in the corn, cotton, and soybean markets, while for the downside, lumber, copper, and Brent crude finished in the red.

In ETF trading, investors again saw a very light volume day across most of the major equity products. However, there were some better trading levels in the commodity market, while a few other emerging market and bond products also saw solid trading levels as well.

One fund in particular that saw an increased level of interest on the day was the ETF Securities Physical Platinum Shares ( PPLT ) . This product usually does about 50,000 shares in a normal day but saw more than 164,000 shares change hands in Monday trading (read Time to Exit The South Africa ETF? ).

A large reason for this outsized interest was because of the ongoing tension in the main producing country of the metal, South Africa. The country saw a large strike turn deadly as 34 were killed by police a few days ago, a situation which raised the stakes for the turbulent nation.

Roughly 30% of the main mine's workforce returned to work on Monday, but obviously more tensions could be seen in the weeks ahead while platinum supplies could be curtailed. Thanks to this, investors bid up PPLT again today, pushing the five day return for this metal ETF to 6.6%.

Another fund which saw a higher-than-normal level of volume was the SPDR S&P Insurance ETF ( KIE ) . The product usually does about 54,000 shares in volume in a normal session but saw about 173,000 shares move hands in Monday's session (read Is it Time for an Equal Weight ETF? ).

Volume was pretty spread out in the session, although investors did see some rather large block trades change hands around the mid-day period. Still, the fund finished the day higher by just 0.3%, continuing the relatively positive trend that this safe sector has seen so far this summer. Interestingly, some of the other insurance ETFs also saw above-average volume, but none saw as much as the equal-weighted KIE did in today's trading.

(see more in the Zacks ETF Center )

SPDR-KBW INSUR (KIE): ETF Research Reports
ETFS-PLATINUM (PPLT): ETF Research Reports
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , ETFs
Referenced Symbols: KIE , PPLT

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