Positive economic data lifted equities Tuesday through Friday, culminating with positive comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Investors forgot about the Monday plunge in stocks triggered by a selloff in mainland Chinese equities as manufacturing and housing data were helpful, but it was Bernanke saying the U.S. economy was on the cusp of a recovery that juiced stocks on Friday.
iPath Crude Oil ETN ( OIL) +6.2% PowerShares DB Oil ( DBO) +3.2% PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services ( PXJ) +5.6% OIL beat DBO this week, but DBO still leads over the past three months. A drawdown in U.S. inventories, in addition to general economic optimism, lifted oil prices this week.
PowerShares Financial Preferred ( PGF) -7.8% iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index ( PFF) -2.2% Preferred shares fell sharply on Thursday, but it was part of a bad week for these stocks. These funds are back to October levels, but they still have farther to go. A stall here would be bearish for the financial sector because they are considered a safer alternative to common stock.