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5 ETFs to Watch This Week

Stocks in this article: IYG XRT EWI GLD EWY

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

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index Fund (IYG)

Alcoa (AA) will kick off earnings season after today's market close. While this is a particularly exciting period for stock traders, ETF investors should also keep a close watch on the blizzard of reports slated for the weeks ahead.

On Friday, for instance, JPMorgan's quarterly performance report and outlook will play a major role in influencing IYG since it is the fund's second largest holding, accounting for over 10% of its portfolio.

JPM's details will also set the stage for other financial players on the docket. Given the challenges the banking industry has faced in recent months, this is sure to be a closely watched release.


In the latter half of this week, the December retail sales report will be released, providing investors with insight on consumer spending during the holiday shopping season. A strong report would bode well for XRT, which has struggled to break above its November highs.

XRT is well suited for investors looking for expansive exposure to traditional, brick-and-mortar-type retail players. Investors looking to game the strength of the e- and m-commerce industries should also keep an eye on the First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (FDN), which is headlined by Amazon (AMZN), Google (GOOG) and eBay (EBAY).

iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (EWI)

In the first week of 2012, investors were greeted to strong news regarding the U.S. economy. Unfortunately, at the same time glimmers of strength on the jobs front were helping to aid investor sentiment, continued tumult in Europe ensured that any optimism remained subdued.

Italy has taken center stage with investors questioning the strength and long-term prospects of banking giant UniCredit, a top EWI holding. Across the region, morale continues to flounder. Bloomberg reported at the end of last week that European economic confidence readings have tumbled to the lowest level in over two years.

Looking to the week ahead, I don't expect the tensions in this region to let up. Continue to steer clear of EWI and other EU-linked ETFs.

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