NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Here are this week's winners and losers.
iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (GAZ) 12.7%
Natural gas has become a highly sought after energy source in light of souring sentiment towards the nuclear industry. Investors, looking for direct exposure to this fuel, have poured into futures-based funds such as GAZ and the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG).
Both GAZ and UNG managed to march higher this week, with GAZ outpacing UNG by a comfortable margin. The reason: This separation can be traced back to the fund's substantial premium which currently stands at 17%.In the event that this premium is wiped out in the near future, investors caught holding GAZ will likely face a rocky ride. Those looking for a safer bet on natural gas should turn to the First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (FCG). iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index Fund (ECH) 8.6% Emerging market-related ETFs are struggling this year as political tensions and inflation fears weigh on investor interest in these risky regions. In recent weeks, however, a number of these funds have staged a comeback. iShares Chile surged last week, breaking above its 50- and 200- day moving averages. Though impressive, ECH still has plenty of distance to cover before it revisits its previous 2011 highs. Other emerging market funds that saw strength this week included iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund (EZA) and the Market Vectors Indonesia ETF (IDX). Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL) 8.5% Precious metal miner funds enjoyed some solid gains over the past week, leading SIL and the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) higher. Gold and silver have become wildly popular among investors seeking protection from the various economic and political headwinds threatening regions of the globe. SIL will likely be exciting to watch in the near future. The fund is currently on the verge of revisiting previous all time highs. Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX) 6.74% After tumbling hard in the initial aftermath of Japan's earthquake and tsunami, the rare earth ETF has staged an impressive comeback, pushing back to pre-crisis levels. The industry and REMX fell into the spotlight late last week after reports that China was planning to raise taxes on rare earths.