At these rock-bottom prices, some investors may be tempted to try their luck with a futures-tracking fund like UNG or the iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (GAZ). These funds, however, are not the best options.
In the event that natural gas witnesses a turnaround in the near future, the equity-backed First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (FCG) still looks like the best and most reliable choice.
iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP)
Europe has quickly found itself back in the global headlines over the past few weeks as sovereign debt fears have resurfaced. The ongoing drama facing nations like Spain and Italy stands as a reminder that, although we have enjoyed some solid signs of improvement during the opening months of 2012, many of the same macroeconomic storm clouds that plagued sentiment last year are still present.China is the other major international macroeconomic story to watch. Hard landing concerns have persisted throughout the opening months of the year and last Friday these fears were fanned when the nation reported slowing growth in the first quarter. When constructing a plan for the future, be sure to set aside some room for defense. In the event that market conditions get rocky, a proper line of protection can help to mitigate losses. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average Index Fund (DIA) As the early-year rally has persisted and matured, we have seen some signs of shakiness. In the days ahead, broad-based funds like DIA will be in focus as we work through this rough patch. This ETF is also interesting to watch from an earnings perspective. Found among the crowd of companies slated to step up this week are a number of names that comprise the iconic Dow Jones Industrials. IBM (IBM), McDonald's (MCD) and Coca-Cola (KO) are three to watch particularly closely; together, they account for more than one-fifth of DIA's portfolio. -- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.