S&P 500 Index
hit a new high for 2009 last week, reaching 1044 before falling back slightly on Friday. The four-day gain for the index during the holiday-shortened week was 2.6% and the market appears to have broken out of its monthlong sideways churning.
The big story of the week was gold, again, after it breached $1,000. It failed to match the large two-day gains seen during the previous week, but
Market Vectors Gold Miners
did add 2.4%.
United States Natural Gas
iPath Natural Gas
First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas
Natural gas rebounded from the previous week's beating to become the best performer last week. Shorts piled into the market when contango was deepest and they paid for it with a short squeeze that saw futures prices rip higher. On Friday, however, the bears clawed back and pushed the futures below $3.
The premiums on UNG and GAS were both 15% at the close on Friday. Investors interested in more info on these products can check out my
Market Vectors Solar
won a contract with the Chinese government to build a 2-gigawatt solar panel field in Inner Mongolia this week, and the news lit up the solar sector. With almost 9% of assets in FSLR, KWT was able to take advantage of the move. The fund is also heavily invested in Chinese solar, with nearly 10% in
, and another 10% split between
Market Vectors Russia
RSX followed oil prices higher last week and then bucked Friday's drop in crude oil prices. On Friday, Vladimir Putin indicated he did not want to see the ruble strengthen too much. Currency fluctuations have caused headaches for Russia in the past.
PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Bullish Fund
The U.S. dollar weakened as gold cruised through $1,000 per ounce, but the gains were tepid and the dollar finished the week below the $1.46 level vs. the euro. Japan's yen saw stronger gains and it stands ready to break through the 90 level next week.
ProShares UltraShort 20+ Treasury
The divergence between Treasuries and equities returned this week as
iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury
gained 1.6%. This divergence can continue as long as central bank money keeps pouring into both markets, but it cannot last. At some point the money flow stops and then investors will make a choice.
Nickel prices declined this week and continue a trend of lower prices since JJN peaked at just under $32 on Aug. 5. It closed at $25 per share on Friday, a loss of more than 20%. JJN has underperformed iPath Copper (JJC) by nearly 10% since August 28. JJC is down about 3% compared to a nearly 12% loss for JJN.
At the time of publication, Dion owned GDX, although holdings can change at any time.
Don Dion is president and founder of
, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.
Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.