True to its reputation, the month of August was lukewarm for global equities including the United States. In fact, a consensus carried out from 1950 to 2016 shows that August ended up offering positive stock returns in 37 years and negative returns in 30 years, per, with an average return of negative 0.27%.

In line with this trend, the S&P 500-based (SPY – Free Report) and Dow Jones Industrial Average-based (DIA – Free Report) ticked up 0.1% each and Nasdaq-100-based (QQQ – Free Report) tacked on about 1.8% gains. The all-world ETF iShares MSCI ACWI ACWI advanced about 0.1%. Europe ETF Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF VGK retreated about 0.5%, and only the emerging market ETF iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM – Free Reportadded 2.1% in the month.

Let’s delve a little deeper into the events that caused such market movements and are worth watching in September.

Harvey Hits Houston

August 2017 can be remembered in the United States as a month of Hurricane Harvey which wreaked havoc in Texas, causing the worst flood in years. Loss estimates for Harvey could reach $100 billion, according to an insurance analyst at Imperial Capital projects, as quoted on 100 billion.

Refiners’ haven Texas saw their oil industry getting crippled thanks to Harvey, flood insurers turned soggy, home improvement retailers rejoiced on the need to re-arrange houses and the auto industry fell in a tight spot as auto dealerships closed down (read: Hurricane Harvey Puts These ETF Areas in Focus).

As refiners were badly hit, crude prices plunged and gasoline prices shot up. United States Gasoline Fund (UGA – Free Report) gained about 6.2% in the last five days (as of Aug 30, 2017). The difference in the price of crude oil and gasoline futures — the crack spread — shot up to benefit VanEck Vectors Oil Refiners ETF CRAK (read: 4 Sector ETFs Winning on Revenue Growth).

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