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ETF News And Commentary

Markets had another uneventful session as weakness in the early part of the day led to a flat Tuesday of trading. The Dow finished ahead by about three points, the S&P 500 declined less than a point, and the Nasdaq was the biggest loser, falling by about 0.2% on the session.

From a sector perspective, health care, services and financials were broadly higher, while some weakness was seen in the mining segments as well as big tech. In terms of biggest winners and losers, investors saw a nearly 3.6% gain for Home Depot (HD) while Juniper Networks (JNPR) led the way on the downside, falling by 4.5%.

Currency markets were a tad more interesting in Tuesday trading as the dollar rose marginally against many of the world’s top currencies. However, these markets did see some intense volatility although many pairs did finish the day right where they started, even as American and German government debt both saw yields rise about seven basis points on the session (read Are Foreign Financial ETFs Back on Track?).

Commodities also continued to see some volatility, as many agricultural commodities fell on the day led by a 2.3% loss for rice and a 2% slump in wheat. Energy and metals were more mixed, although we did see another solid day for natural gas as the commodity added nearly 4% on the day.

ETF trading was once again light, although it did pick up a bit when compared to yesterday’s session. Some of the top index and commodity based products continued to see volume levels that were 50% of normal, but investors did see more activity in a few sector funds and some bond products during Tuesday trading.

In particular, investors saw an outsized level of interest in the small cap market, especially in the micro caps with the iShares Russell Microcap Index Fund (IWC - ETF report). Volume usually comes in at about 89,000 shares a day but we saw a significant spike past this in Tuesday’s session (see Three Impressive Small Cap Dividend ETFs).

This burst of volume was especially impressive given the weak trading levels that investors saw in a number of other style box ETFs on the day.  Even more important is that IWC saw some good trading and momentum right at the close suggesting that this fund could do better than some of its larger counterparts to close out the week.

Another ETF that was a big mover in an otherwise light day was the PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (PBS - ETF report). This fund usually does about 43,000 shares in a normal day but saw more than three times that move hands in Tuesday trading (read Play a Consumer Recovery with These Discretionary ETFs).

Most of the heavy volume came in the early part of the session as there were large periods throughout the day that saw no shares change hands. Still the product finished the day lower by about 40 basis points and could continue to be in focus thanks to some top holdings in News Corp and Yahoo!, which have both been in the news a ton as of late.

(see more in the Zacks ETF Center)

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