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Five ETFs to Watch This Week

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)

Housing-related retail giants Home Depot (HD) and Lowes (LOW) are reporting their earnings and provide outlooks in the closing days of earnings season. The two are notable holdings within the XHB and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB).

Earnings-related news should impact the performance of this industry during the first half of the week. Meanwhile, economic events such as the housing starts report will drive action during the second half.

Homebuilders have seen some strength in recent weeks but I continue to encourage conservative investors to look elsewhere for real estate exposure. The iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund (ICF) remains an attractive bet.

iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (EWI)

The eurozone's economic drama has created a choppy trading environment over the past few weeks. Looking to the days ahead, this choppiness will likely continue.

Funds like EWI will be interesting to watch, but as I've explained on a number of occasions, this part of the developed world is not for the faint of heart. Rather, with nations like Italy and Greece still struggling to sort out their respective issues, the countries in this monetary bloc should only be tested by aggressive and risk tolerant short term traders.

Check out my article from last week to find two alternative ways to gain international developed market exposure.

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX)

During the middle of last week, renewed concerns about Europe's economic woes helped to reinvigorate the fear-tracking VIX, pushing it to staggering highs. In the days that have followed, these gains have been wiped out. In a similar fashion, VXX struggled during the latter half of the week as well.

Looking to the near term, VXX and VIX should be interesting to watch. While jitters have returned, it is unclear whether the fear index can capitalize. Thanks to this week's run-up, VXX managed to ascend above its 50-day moving average for a short period of t time. The VIX index, however, appears to be struggling against this level. Since the latter half of October, it has tested this point on three separate occasions.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
XRT $98.42 -0.10%
USO $18.03 -3.32%
VXX $27.78 -1.14%
XHB $36.28 -0.18%
EWI $14.79 -0.54%

Markets

DOW 18,214.42 -10.15 -0.06%
S&P 500 2,110.74 -3.12 -0.15%
NASDAQ 4,987.89 +20.7530 0.42%

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