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Europe took center stage last week as investors were once again reminded of the debt crises facing vulnerable euro members. During this week, it will be interesting to see if these issues remain on the forefront of investors' minds.
I continue to urge investors to avoid products with heavy exposure to nations like Spain, Italy, Greece and Ireland. Rather, risk-tolerant investors seeking exposure to this corner of the developed world may find nations outside of the euro bloc attractive. Over the most recent 30-day period, funds like the
iShares MSCI Sweden Index Fund(EWD) and
iShares MSCI Switzerland Index Fund(EWL) have managed to outpace EZU.
Market Vectors Vietnam ETF(VNM)
Inflation concerns have wreaked havoc on the Vietnam's market, leading the VNM to suffer a heavy bout of losses. Throughout the latter half of May, the fund witnessed a steep sharp sell-off, ultimately resulting in new all-time lows.
VNM's steep decline over the past few weeks can be viewed as a reminder of the volatility inherent in emerging and frontier markets. Although nations like Vietnam can witness strong upside action during times of market euphoria, it is crucial to keep exposure to these countries small and focused. This way, investors can protect against weakness.
First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto ETF(CARZ)
In its opening weeks of trading, First Trust's automotive ETF has struggled to gather much of a following. During this shortened week, however, CARZ may be a product to keep an eye on.
Auto and truck sales numbers are slated to be released this Wednesday. Whereas in the past I have often pointed investors to products such as
SPDR S&P Retail ETF(XRT) or the
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods Index Fund(IYK) in order to track the car industry, with the introduction of CARZ, investors can now gain direct access to the top car makers from around the globe.
Ultimately, CARZ should be watched from the sidelines. The fund's paltry average trading volume makes it vulnerable to liquidity issues.
Utilities Select Sector SPDR(XLU)
XLP and other ETFs designed to track defensive market sectors may prove to be popular destinations for conservative investors as we kick off June.