Exchange-traded funds tracking the financial sector were among the biggest winners this week, propelled by the Federal Reserve's decision to cut its overnight lending rate by another quarter-point to 2%.
At the same time, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF), the Vanguard Financials ETF (VFH), the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector (IYF) fund and the iShares S&P Global Financials (IXG) ETF each added 2.3% or more.
The central bank provided further cushion to financials Friday when it ratcheted up its term auction facility by 50% to $150 billion, meaning banks will have that much more money available for borrowing.Since Monday, two of the Dow's financial components -- Bank of America (BAC - Get Report) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Get Report) -- added 3.9% and 1.8%, respectively, though Citigroup (C - Get Report) ticked 0.8% lower, weighed down by this week's news that it would offer $4.5 billion in stock. Suffering the flip-side of the Fed's decision were commodities-related ETFs. Among the worst-performing energy ETFs were Oil Services HOLDRs (OIH), PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services (PXJ), United States Oil (USO) and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Energy (IYE). All have sunk at least 2.1% apiece over the past five sessions. Those declines came despite climbs at Chevron (CVX - Get Report) and BP (BP - Get Report), which both reported higher profits this week on the back of the oil boom, and for the week were up 2.8% and 4.4%, respectively. Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) was a notable exception, sliding 3.1% since Monday after failing to hit analyst estimates for the first quarter, despite a surging bottom line. As for gold, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) slid 4.7% for the week, while the iShares COMEX Gold Trust (IAU) and the streetTRACKS Gold Shares (GLD) fund each dropped 3.1%.