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SPY ETF Posts 2% Gain For May Buoyed By Technology, Health Sectors

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Flagship U.S. stock ETFs came wafting down Tuesday as investors parsed economic data for the timing of the next rate hike and oil reversed lower.

The latest economic data reveal personal spending climbed 1% in April, the biggest gain in more than six years. Home prices also advanced, topping estimates.

Amid those reports, SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ) inched up in early trade toward its April high of 210.92. It fell short of that mark, ending the session lower but at the midpoint of the day's range.

SPY bagged a 1.7% gain for the month of May as investors digested hawkish Fed comments, strengthening oil prices and mixed corporate earnings. This bellwether ETF, a proxy for the broad market, has bounded up 3.5% year to date as U.S. stocks continue to recover from the worst start to the year in decades.

The technology sector contributed most to gains in the S&P 500 in May, followed by health care and financial services. The energy sector trailed, despite a 5.0% jump for commodity ETFs tracking oil prices over the same period.

As reporting season winds down, aggregate first-quarter S&P 500 earnings are estimated at $26.89. That's a decline of 5.6% year over year, and the third quarterly decline in a row.

"Such a steep decline in growth hasn't been recorded since Q2 2009," said Lindsey Bell, senior analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. That low point came near the bottom of the 2007-09 bear market and the stock market has marched almost steadily higher since. If history is any example, things may start to look up for U.S. stocks again.

Oil gave up early gains Tuesday after an Arab oil minister described prices as "correcting upward" and expressed optimism about the market. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures settled 23 cents lower at $49.10 a barrel.

SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ( XOP ) shaved early gains of more than 2% to 0.7%.

Gold prices snapped a long chain of losses, which came as the odds of an interest-rate hike in June or July rose. Higher rates increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, a haven asset.

SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ( XME ) jumped 3.5% on the stock market today . Its No. 3 stock holding, Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF ), vaulted nearly 40%.

China exchange traded funds paced their international stock peers. The mainland Shanghai and Shenzhen markets soared on Tuesday. Some market watchers attributed those gains to potential inclusion of China A-shares (shares in mainland China-based companies) in the MSCI indexes. The MSCI's decision is expected June 15.

VanEck Vectors ChinaAMC SME-ChiNext ( CNXT ) jumped 4.8%. The ETF has lost half its value in the past year and is attempting to retake the 50-day moving average of around 33.

12 Bellwether ETFs

Here's a look at how major exchange traded funds, tracking various asset classes, performed today.

Following daily ETF market action can be key to successful investing:

SPDR S&P 500 ( SPY ), -0.2%, RS 62

PowerShares QQQ (QQQ), +0.2%, RS 57

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA), -0.5%, RS 62

IShares Core S&P Mid-Cap (IJH), 0%, RS 65

IShares Russell 2000 (IWM), +0.3%, RS 53

IShares MSCI EAFE (EFA), -0.5%, RS 39

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO), +0.3%, RS 35

SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), +0.4%, RS 62

United States Oil (USO), -0.9%, RS 35

IShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond (AGG), +0.1%, RS 48

PowerShares DB U.S.$ Bullish (UUP), +0.2%, RS 35

IPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures (VXX), -0.1%, RS 4

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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