) -- Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) - Get SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust Report

Thanks to a multi-day string of gains last week, the closely-watched S&P 500 Index is heading into the final days of 2011 hovering around unchanged territory, year-to-date. Looking to next week, it will be interesting to see how this index performs. It is currently testing its 200-day moving average which, on a number of occasions in recent months, has proven to be a point of resistance.

As we prepare to embark on 2012, many of the same factors that weighed on performance during the second half of this year continue to be in play. Investors may be tempted to go all-in during spurts of strength in hopes of recovering losses. However, when attempting to navigate the road ahead, patience and level-headedness will likely be a more reliable strategy.

Dividend-paying equity ETFs like the

iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund

(DVY) - Get iShares Select Dividend ETF Report

bode well for conservative investors looking to maintain exposure to this volatile marketplace. Keep this fund on the radar.

Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH) - Get VanEck Vectors Retail ETF Report

Much of the ETF-related news from last week focused on the shuttering of underperforming products from companies including

IndexIQ and

Global X . However, amidst the executions, investors also witnessed the resurrection of some popular products.

Last Wednesday, six familiar Merrill Lynch HOLDRs funds were refurbished and released back into the public. Now boasting the Market Vectors name and brand new underlying indices, it will be interesting to see how instruments like the

Market Vectors Oil Services ETF

(OIH) - Get VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF Report


Market Vectors Retail ETF

(RTH) - Get VanEck Vectors Retail ETF Report

TheStreet Recommends


RTH will be particularly interesting to watch. Investors returning from the holiday weekend will be greeted to the monthly consumer confidence report.

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get iPath Series B S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN Report

Though wearied from months of seemingly relentless disconcerting macroeconomic news, investors have shown some impressive resilience. In the face of looming headwinds, the fear-based VIX index has struggled to find footing, breaking below its 200-day moving average and retreating to levels last seen in late July.

This downturn has translated into notable losses for VXX and other ETNs linked to the benchmark. During the final trading days of the year, it will be interesting to see how VXX behaves. Oftentimes, the markets can behave in a choppy manner during shortened weeks.

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) - Get iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF Report

Market watcher kept a close eye on the housing industry last week as a spattering of economic data was released. This week's calendar is lighter. However, with the monthly Pending Home Sales report on the docket for Thursday, funds like ITB and

SPDR S&P Homebuilder ETF

(XHB) - Get SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF Report

could see some interesting action.

Many have noted that the residential housing market is seeing signs of stabilization. Despite this optimism, I encourage investors to be prudent here. REIT-heavy ETFs like

iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund

(ICF) - Get iShares Cohen & Steers REIT ETF Report

remain the best bet for real estate bulls.

iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ) - Get iShares MSCI Japan ETF Report

A deluge of Japan-related economic data is slated to come through the pipeline after the U.S. markets close on Tuesday. For investors with exposure to EWJ, information regarding CPI, unemployment, retail, and industrial production merit attention.

The Japanese marketplace has flown under the radar in recent months as investor attention has remained solidly focused on the economic woes plaguing the troubled European Union. As we have seen in the past, however, lack of media covering is not necessarily a bad thing.

Readers Also Like:

Best of 2011: Occupy Wall Street

Top 10 Videos: The Best of 2011

At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned EWJ, DVY and ICF.