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During the first half of the week, investors will gain important insight into the state of the global energy industry as leading player,
Exxon Mobil(XOM) steps up to the earnings plate. The firm's performance weighs heavily on funds like IYE and the
Energy Select Sector SPDR(XLE), which set aside 26% and 19% of their assets to the company, respectively.
So far, the showing from fellow integrated energy majors has been mixed.
Chevron(CVX), one of the most recent names to release earnings, failed to live up to analyst forecasts, while
ConocoPhillips(COP) managed to beat expectations. The firm was not immune to losses, however, with production declines sending investors fleeing.
Conservative investors looking to try their luck with large-cap energy stocks should stick to the sidelines until after Exxon releases its report.
SPDR S&P 500 ETF(SPY)
U.S. investors are riding high as we prepare to close the book on January. Although plenty of headwinds still threaten the global markets, nothing has managed to derail this month's rally. In the coming week, there will be a number of important market-moving economic reports, including Friday's non-farm payroll report for January.
The recent upward market action could generate momentum to the start of February. Still, investors should avoid become complacent here.
iShares Gold Trust(IAU)
Despite its designation as a safe haven asset class, gold has traded higher alongside the broader markets in the opening weeks of 2012. This action has boded well for bullion-backed funds like IAU and the
SPDR Gold Shares(GLD). Both have managed to recover nearly all of the losses suffered during December's sell-off.
Last week, the
Federal Reserve did little to quell the precious metal's upward trajectory when it pledged to keep low interest rates until late 2014.
Gold is not the only member of the precious metals spectrum that has seen strength recently. The
iShares Silver Trust(SLV) has recovered all of the losses it suffered during December.
iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund(FXI)
China's markets has reopened after spending last week closed in observance of the Lunar New Year. Despite the closure, FXI still witnessed impressive action. A string of gains has helped the fund break through and maintain levels above its 200-day moving average for the first time since early June.