NEW YORK (
) -- Precious metals dominated the winners in the holiday-shortened week ended Thursday as the dollar lost ground vs. the euro.
ETFS Physical Palladium Shares
As I highlighted in both an
this week, when it comes to precious metals, more investors are turning their attention away from gold in favor of the platinum group.
Though ETFs designed to track both physical platinum and palladium saw nice gains, rising to highs not seen since 2008, it was PALL that came out on top.
iShares Silver Trust
After successfully bouncing off its 50-day moving average at the close of last week, SLV continued its upward trajectory, scoring some of the highest gains within the ETF realm. Optimistic sentiment regarding the pace of the U.S. and global economic recovery helped lift the price of the metal higher.
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
Though platinum and palladium are becoming the metals of choice, gold miners still shined this week and managed to steal a top position among the winners. Aiding GDX's ascension was
Lihir Gold Limited
, which saw its shares soar after the Australian company rejected an $8.4 billion cash and stock takeover bid from Newcrest. Lihir accounts for over 4% of GDX's total portfolio.
iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund
Though investors have been more cautious on China, this week FXI managed to score some impressive gains. Some of the strongest returns came from the nation's financial industry. Top banks including China's Bank of Communications and Construction Bank reported impressive quarterly profit.
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iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Total Return Subindex ETN
SGG continued on its spectacular downward slide this week. Prices have taking a gut-wrenching hit since hitting 29-year record highs at the start of February. With the El Nino weather pattern dissipating, top producing nations' yield forecasts are up, setting the stage for more pain in the near future.
iPath Dow Jones-UBS Grains Total Return Subindex ETN
The first quarter of 2010 was tough for corn, soybeans and wheat prices, and this week was more of the same. All three crops tumbled further after the USDA released its quarterly stock report. Additional pressure was put on JJG when news broke that an Argentinean dock worker strike had been settled. Argentina is one of the world's largest producers of soybeans.
iPath S&P VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
A relatively unchanged market and growing optimistic sentiment from investors caused the volatility tracking VXX to take a heavy shot across the bow this week, suffering some of the biggest losses across the entire ETF universe. This fund has been on a steep, steady decline since the middle of February.
Investors looking for more winners and losers in the ETF universe should check out my articles examining the
funds from the first quarter.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
At the time of publication, Dion was not long any equity mentioned.
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.