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5 ETFs to Watch This Week

iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund (ICF)

As witnessed over the past week, the real estate sector continues to be a particularly vulnerable region of the marketplace. Despite estimate-beating earnings from industry bellwether D.R. Horton (DHI) and an unexpected rise in home sales during June, homebuilder ETFs like iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) struggled to find support. By the close of last week, ITB was trading at new 2011 lows.

The past week was challenging for REITs as well. However, this corner of the real estate industry continues to show welcomed stability. Shares of iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund (ICF) has stuck to a strong upward path throughout the year.

In the upcoming days, investors can expect to learn more about the current state and future prospects for REITs and ICF. Public Storage (PSA), General Growth Properties (GGP) and Boston Properties (BXP) are slated to report quarterly earnings numbers.

iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (EWI)

The next few days should prove interesting for the Italy's markets as the nation struggles against the ongoing euro crisis and digests the earnings results from a number of the largest Italian firms. Among the companies slated to release their performance information are Enel, Intesa Sanpaolo, and Generali Assicurazioni, Unicredit , Telecom Italia (TI), and Tenaris (TS). These companies comprise over 40% of EWI's index.

Although strong earnings from these companies may provide EWI with a boost, I would urge conservative investors to stick to the sidelines. Given the macro issues facing this troubled nation, the fund will likely behave in a volatile manner in the days ahead.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund.
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