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For months, Europe has commanded investor attention and dominated market-related discourse. With Greece at last gaining approval for its sought-after bailout funding, however, the region's debt woes seem to have suddenly fallen off the radar. In its place, rising fuel prices have taken center stage.
It is not unusual to see crude oil prices increase during improving market conditions. The rally, however, has been magnified as tensions mount with Iran and the global markets express concerns about a supply shock. Although pump prices have only recently begun stealing headlines, the futures-backed UGA has been on a tear throughout 2012, rising over 15%. The fund is flirting with last year's highs.
iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund(EWC)Wal-Mart(WMT) marked the ceremonious end to earnings season, but this week's schedule is far from clear. On the contrary, a variety of companies across the market spectrum will step up to the plate to provide insight into how they fared over the past quarter and lay out their expectations for the coming months.
The Canadian financial system will be of particular interest in the days ahead as
Royal Bank of Canada(RY),
Bank of Montreal(BMO) and National Bank of Canada release reports. Banking institutions play a major role in driving EWC's action, with the financial sector accounting for nearly a third of the fund's portfolio.
In addition to the earnings-related action, Canada is also slated to release its quarterly GDP report at the end of the week.
iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN(GAZ)
Natural gas has become wildly popular as investors have attempted to position their portfolio to benefit from rising energy prices. While this uptick in popularity is encouraging for those who have watch funds like the
United States Natural Gas Fund(UNG) tumble for years, the reversal in sentiment has produced new challenges for some products.
The futures-tracking GAZ ETN has quickly become too big for its britches. With investors piling into the product, it has broken away from its underlying assets, resulting in a staggering premium that reached as high as 80% during the start of last week. It has since fallen considerably, but investors should still steer clear. Those left holding the fund when the premium is wiped out will be in for a gut-wrenching ride.