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3 Long-Term ETF Trends to Watch

NEW YORK (ETF Expert) -- Daily sentiment can change on a "Susan B. Anthony."

For instance, in the time that Prime Minister Mario Monti has held the reins of control in Italy, global markets have felt better about the prospect of the European Union holding itself together.

At the start of last week's trading, in fact, stock assets around the world surged higher on the likelihood that the current power structure would remain. Yet, stocks quickly reversed direction when news reports showed that Silvio Belusconi might potentially return to his former glory, as his party appeared to be winning a majority of votes for Senate positions.

Why should the Italian elections hold so much sway? Changes in leadership for the euro zone's third-largest economy could roil the recent support for the country's reforms. Without the support of nations like Germany, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands, the "PIGS" (Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain) could find themselves back in the throes of a sovereign debt meltdown and the euro zone's stability might be at stake.

Nevertheless, it may be more constructive for a longer-term thinker to examine buying opportunities for the next significant pullback. Here are three possibilities for a forward-minded ETF enthusiast.

1. Pharmaceutical ETFs: By 2015, China will become the second-largest market for pharmaceuticals in the world. In order for the big drug companies to continue paying big dividends -- figuratively and literally -- the health sub-sector must expand its reach into emerging markets.

Fortunately, Pfizer (PFE) and Merck (MRK) are actively pursuing international relationships. Both already have existing joint ventures in China. Moreover, both are seeking additional alliances with an understanding that it is better to join local companies to benefit from synergies rather than compete on foreign soil.

Both iShares DJ Pharmaceuticals (IHE) as well as Powershares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals (PJP) contain Pfizer and Merck in their respective top 10 holdings. Both exchange-traded trackers maintain solid technical uptrends. Consider entering at a price near the 50-day moving average.

2. Timber ETFs: So much attention has been paid to homebuilders that many investors overlook the materials involved in remodeling, renovation as well as exporting. Specifically, lumber prices themselves are rapidly rising due to domestic demand as well as demand from China. In fact, framing lumber prices have reached 2005 peaks.

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