U.S. equity markets recovered most of their losses from Wednesday’s session during today’s trading as rosy data and a solid earnings report from FedEx helped to boost market sentiment despite ongoing worries over the Japanese nuclear situation. The Dow was up by 1.4% on the day, leading the broader indexes as banking and energy firms rebounded strongly, although the S&P 500 (up 1.3%) and the Nasdaq (up 0.7%) rose modestly as well.
Commodities continued their rebound as gold rose by $9/oz. and oil surged thanks to protests in Bahrain, gaining $3.5/bbl. or roughly 3.6% in the session. Other commodities, notably the grains market, gained considerably on the day as well as soybeans, corn, and wheat all gained at least 4% on the day with Chicago traded wheat surging by 7.3%, helping to reverse the recent losses which were spurred by the Japanese crisis.
One of the biggest losers in the ETFdb 60 was the PowerShares DB USD Index Bullish Fund (UUP) which tumbled by just 0.9% on the day. Today’s modest losses came as the dollar retreated broadly against most of the world’s major currencies as fears over the market cooled and investors pushed towards riskier assets.
The biggest losses were seen against the yen, which continued its surge despite the crippling disaster, and the three major European currencies of the pound, euro, and Swiss franc. All three of these currencies gained more than .7% against the greenback as Spain successfully sold $4.1 billion worth of bonds early in Thursday’s session, putting traders’ fears temporarily at ease over the strength of the market’s peripheral members [see more on UUP’s fact sheet].
One of the biggest gainers in the ETF world was the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) which surged by 5.5% in Thursday’s session. Today’s large gains were the result of a government report in which the EIA released figures regarding natural gas stockpiles across the nation that showed a 56bcf drop in overall supplies.
This compared to expectations of a drawdown of about 43.5 bcf leading many traders to buy up the beaten down fuel during Thursday’s trading session. “The storage number was above most expectations, including ours,” said Kent Bayazitoglu, an analyst with Gelber & Associates in Houston. “In itself, it’s definitely bullish. It kind of went against some of the other recent withdrawals, which have been more bearish.” [see more charts of UNG here].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.