Overseas-related exchange-traded funds were among the best performers Wednesday, despite a slide in Asian indices overnight. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index lost 1.7%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index sank 1.5% and China's CSI 300 Index shed 1.5%, after partially recovering from steeper early losses. Other indices in Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia finished lower as well, also after rallying from earlier lows. Still, investors appeared to take heart in the comebacks. The iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index ( FXI) was higher by $6.65, or 4.7%, to $147.35. The PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China ( PGJ) was higher by $1.07, or 4.1%, to $27.22. The SPDR S&P China ( GXC) was adding $3.21, or 4.3%, to $77.40. The Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock ( VWO) was up $3.23, or 3.7%, to $91.63. Oil-related bundled securities were higher as crude prices spiked following the Energy Department's latest inventory report. The front-month October crude contract advanced $1.46 to $73.19 a barrel. Earlier, the Energy Department said that gasoline stocks fell by 3.6 million barrels last week. Crude stocks, meanwhile, fell by a greater-than-expected 3.5 million barrels. The Ultra Oil & Gas ProShares ( DIG) was gaining $2.91, or 3.2%, to $92.74. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil Equipment Index ( IEZ) rose $1.17, or 2.1%, to $57.67. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ( XES) was higher by 62 cents, or 1.7%, at $36.48. Homebuilder ETFs strengthened, despite news that Fitch Ratings downgraded its credit ratings on several homebuilders late Tuesday. Hovnanian ( HOV), Standard Pacific ( SPF) and Beazer Homes ( BZH) were adding nearly 4% or more.
The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ( XHB) was climbing 57 cents, or 2.4%, to $24.04. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction ( ITB) was tacking on 29 cents, or 1.3%, to $22.80. On the other hand, the United States Natural Gas ( UNG) ETF continued to slide. Natural gas was recently down a mere penny at $5.58 per million British thermal units, but prices have fallen nearly 20% over the past two weeks. The ETF was recently down 62 cents, or 1.7%, to $35.75. Financial-related ETFs also continued to erode. The First Trust Financials AlphaDex ( FXO) ETF was down 6 cents, or 0.3%, to $17.46. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services ( IYG) was lower by 51 cents, or 0.4%, to $119.04.