The ongoing drama facing China and the European Union continues to dominate international market discussions. Meanwhile, other corners of the globe have managed to fly under the radar. Vietnam's marketplace, for example, has surged, pushing VNM to some of the most substantial gains in our long-term momentum rankings.
VNM often moves independent of other international ETFs, but this does not mean that it is the best bet for those looking to hedge against global turmoil. As a frontier nation, Vietnam is inherently vulnerable to wild fluctuations. This can cause headaches for those unprepared or unwilling to take on this level of risk.
Guggenheim Solar ETF(TAN)
The sun shined on the solar energy industry during the opening weeks of 2012, but clouds have since gathered as Europe's debt crisis and other global hurdles have fallen back into focus. In response, funds like TAN and the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF(KWT) have fallen back to earth, retreating toward all-time lows.
The outlook for these funds remains muddled in uncertainty, but in the week ahead, they may be worth monitoring. Major holding, First Solar(FSLR), is slated to step up to the earnings plate on Thursday.
PowerShares QQQ(QQQ)Apple(AAPL)dominated market discussions
for much of last week following the release of its quarterly earnings report. The consumer tech giant's standout showing has helped to dispel doubters and put an end to the stock price's losing streak.
A strong showing from Apple this week bodes well for QQQ. The company represents close to one-fifth of its total portfolio.
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF(GDX)
It has been a tough year for the gold mining industry. With consistent coyness on the part of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve, the yellow metal has struggled to get off the ground. This, combined with the recent spurt of choppy market action, has caused GDX and the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF(GDXJ) to flounder. The former has tumbled to levels last seen two years ago.
Gold is not the only precious metal to watch in the days ahead. Investors should also keep an eye on palladium. As I explained last week, the ETFS Physical Palladium Shares(PALL) may be in store for some impressive upside action ahead.
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