Nuclear ETFs in Focus


"The Market Vectors Uranium and Nuclear Energy ETF has been seeing solid volume levels and it continued the trend this week, trading in volumes roughly six times the normal level."

American stocks had a weak Tuesday session as all the major benchmarks trended lower in the day's trading. The Dow finished the session lower by about half a percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq had more moderate losses of, respectively, 0.4% and 0.3%.

In terms of sector performances, tech, energy, health care, and utilities all finished the day in the red while banks, mining firms and a few consumer product firms bucked the trend and finished in the green. Leading the way on the upside was Citigroup with a 2.5% gain while mining giant Freeport McMoRan added about 3.2%. Meanwhile, losers were led by a nearly 2% slump in Verizon, while Merck wasn't too far behind for the large cap decliners.

The dollar was again weaker in currency trading, as the euro led the way higher adding about 1% on the session. Rates did move lower for the American ten year, although Germany and the UK did see modest increases in their rates for the Tuesday session (read Build a Complete Portfolio with These Three ETFs).

Commodity markets were more favorable overall, as broad indexes rose on the back of broad gains in the energy, metals, and soft commodity markets. Leading the way higher was a 2% jump in copper, 2.2% gain in silver, and nearly 3% moves higher for both cotton and soybeans.

In ETF trading, investors saw the trend of light volume continue, although it is finally beginning to pick back up closer to normal levels. This has been led by solid activity levels in the commodity market as well as decent bond trading during Tuesday's session (see What Happened to the Rare Earth Metal ETF?).

One product in particular that saw an outsized level of volume in Tuesday's trading was the iPath DJ-UBS Sugar TR Sub Index ETN. This ETN, which tracks sugar futures prices, saw volume that was about triple the daily average for the note.

Undoubtedly, much of this volume stemmed from the weakness in sugar prices as of late, as SGG lost another 3.3% during Tuesday's trading. Now, the product is down 17.6% in the past one month period and with more Indian government releases of supplies, prices could continue to trend towards SGG's 52 week low in the near term.

Another ETF that saw a great deal of interest in Tuesday's session was the Market Vectors Uranium and Nuclear Energy ETF. This product has been seeing solid volume levels for a few days now and it continued the trend in Tuesday's session with volume that was roughly six times the normal level (see Uranium ETF Meltdown: Can Nuclear Power Bounce Back?).

However, investors should note that block trading again dominated this fund during Tuesday's session, as activity was especially intense in the first part of the session. Still, it has been some positive volume as of late, as NLR was up about 33 basis points today, continuing the fund's one month trend which has seen the product add about 6.7% in the time frame.

Eric Dutram
Zacks Investment Research

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