NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It was a volatile week that saw hopes for a great jobs number on Friday, but instead those hopes were dashed by a number that showed little job growth outside of census hiring. On top of that miss, a mix of bad news from Europe caused the euro to sell off and contributed to a big down day on Friday.
United States Natural Gas (UNG) +10.1%
One of the few ETF winners last week that wasn't an inverse fund was UNG. Natural gas has been marching to the beat of a different drummer for more than a year, and for almost all of that period, that meant lower prices. Now, after oil tumbled in May and stocks are in the midst of a selloff, natural gas is conspicuous in its rise.
Due to losses from contango, UNG is in worse shape than natural gas itself, which presents a much more bullish picture. For that reason, even if natural gas rises, it makes sense for investors to avoid UNG and the iPath DJ-UBS Natural Gas ETN (GAZ) that has the same problem.> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas (FCG) is a better choice, though it will move with the broader stock market. JP Morgan Alerian MLP Index (AMJ) is a more conservative play that will have limited upside, but AMJ outperformed in the past year because its high yield made it attractive in a low-interest rate environment. Plus, it has more exposure to transportation and storage of natural gas. Firms in this area of the business can do well with low prices if it means increased demand. iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) +9.5% This fund made all of its gains for the week on Friday during the stock market selloff. While VXX often jumps on days when the market falls, the fund is still below its May high, even though the S&P 500 index closed below its May low. The reason is that the VIX index, which is sometimes called the fear index, measures expectations. The index is based on options prices, and investors pay more for options if they expect there will be a big move in the price of the underlying asset, up or down. Therefore, the VIX will peak with panic, rather than lows in the stock market. iShares MSCI Thailand (THD) +2.2% THD outperformed the market on Friday, sliding less than most other markets, and the loss was small enough that the fund held its gains for the week. It came as there was vote of no confidence earlier in the week, which resulted in the prime minister calling for a change to his cabinet. This is all coming in the wake of violent clashes between the military and antigovernment protesters.
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