For a second day, the Italian marketplace is seeing a boost, helping EWI power to the top of the winners' list. This short spurt of strength has helped the battered fund recover some of the heavy losses suffered last week. EWI is not the only EU-linked ETF that is gaining ground. The iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP) and the iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund (EWG) are also reveling in today's market action.
Broad technology-related ETFs like VGT and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Sector Index Fund (IYW) are pushing higher following Apple's (AAPL) hugely positive earnings showing. Yesterday's performance helped the Cupertino-based consumer tech show investors once again why it is a stock market darling. Apple shares are up approximately 9% during early afternoon trading.
While technology is leading the U.S. marketplace higher, other sectors and industries are also sitting in positive territory. ETFs linked to agribusiness, healthcare, and materials are among the biggest beneficiaries. Thanks to a five-day rally, the XBI has managed to ascend back towards its 2012 highs. This level proved to be a point of resistance at the start of the month so it will be interesting to see the same thing will happen this time around.
iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (GAZ) 2.3%
After three days, the troubled natural gas futures-tracking GAZ has managed to snap its losing streak. Often, GAZ's substantial premium has caused it to diverge from similar funds like the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG). No matter which is in the lead, however, I do not recommend that investors try their luck with these funds.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) -4.3%
The FOMC statement released at midday noted that the central bank remains committed to its current low interest rate environment. The news had little effect on market averages which continue to trade in positive territory. The VIX index, meanwhile, has taken a sharp shot across the bow. ETNs linked to this closely watched benchmark are falling as well. VXX is trading back towards levels seen at the start of the month.
Many internationally-focused ETFs are enjoying some impressive gains during mid-week trading. Some, however, are not faring so well. The Brazil ETF, for example is running into trouble as top holdings, Vale, Itau Unibanco (ITUB), and Petrobras (PBR) head lower. This trio represents a major slice of EWZ's portfolio. All prices as of 2:10 PM DST