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U.S. stocks began the week on a lower note as worries over Japanese growth and more concerns regarding Greece hit stocks on Monday morning. However, investors did carry stocks off of their lows around noon, pushing equities back up to respectable levels to close out Monday trading.
Thanks to this, the Dow finished the day down about 0.3%, while the S&P 500 fell by -0.1% and the Nasdaq bucked the trend and added 0.1% for the session. This broad trend generally followed European and Asian indexes lower, as these benchmarks also finished in the red for the most part (read Three Overlooked High Yield ETFs).
From a sector perspective, basic materials were a definite loser while staples were also down as well. Financials and tech were more mixed, as Google led the sector higher with a 2.8% gain in Monday trading.
This trading came despite a flat dollar for the most part, as the American currency lost just a tad against its global counterparts. Still, rates edged higher in the U.S. and Germany while worries cooled over PIIGS debt, at least for now, in large parts of the bloc.
Yet even with a weaker dollar, commodities remained under pressure led by severe weakness in the agricultural market. Energy and precious metals also slumped on the day, leaving livestock commodities as one of the few winners to open up the week (see The End of the Social Media ETF Nightmare?).
In ETF trading, volume was once again very light across the board as major American index products saw volumes which were about half the normal level. Still, a few products did see some interest in the otherwise light session, specifically in the commodity producer world and in the foreign ETF market as well.
In particular, ETF investors saw an outsized level of interest in the Market Vectors Agricultural ETF (MOO - ETF report). The fund has seen a ton of extremely light trading days as of late but today saw volume reach about 2.2x a normal day (read How Do You Invest For The Coming Crop Crisis?).
This increase in volume comes despite a relatively negative day in which MOO lost about 0.6% in the session. However, the trend since the start of June is very bullish for the fund, even with the low volume, as the product has bounced off of its 52 week lows and is now poised to break through short-term moving average levels as well.
Another fund which saw a big day of volume was the iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (EWI - ETF report). The fund usually does about 700,000 shares in a normal day but saw just over three million shares move hands on the session (read Is The Italy ETF Next?).
While the product did lose about 0.4% on the day, some are becoming more optimistic regarding the short-term outlook for both the country and the region. According to Bloomberg, short interest has fallen significantly in Europe so it is possible some are positioning themselves for a mini rally in Europe over the coming days.
(see more in the Zacks ETF Center)