Dion's Weekly ETF Winners and Losers

A rally in base materials and precious metals helped buoy the iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund.
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Winners

iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund (EZA) - Get Report +6.5%

A rally in base materials and precious metals helped buoy the South Africa ETF. Over the past two weeks, the fund has been consistently falling, revisiting 2010 lows. The past few days' gains, however, have managed to drive EZA back above its 200-day moving average.

Looking ahead to next week, EZA may have some room to run as the nation makes final preparations in anticipation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) - Get Report +5.7%

Precious-metal strength helped to power not only physically backed products like

ETFS Physical Palladium Shares

(PALL) - Get Report

but also gold miners. GDXJ and its large-cap focused, slightly less volatile cousin

Market Vectors Gold Miners

(GDX) - Get Report

rose alike.

Because they are more volatile, GDXJ and PALL are funds best suited for risk-tolerant investors. On the other hand, GDX, or a physically backed gold fund like

iShares COMEX Gold Trust

(IAU) - Get Report

, is a better option for more conservative buy-and-hold investors.

Claymore/NYSE Arca Airlines Index ETF (FAA) +5.8%

We are on the cusp of the summer vacation season, and the airlines dedicated to transporting us to paradise are seeing some impressive gains. FAA provides investors with pure-play exposure to companies including

Southwest

(LUV) - Get Report

,

Delta

(DAL) - Get Report

and

United Airlines

(UAUA)

.

Conservative ETF investors cautious about playing a subsector fund like FAA can find comfortable exposure to airlines as well as other branches of the transportation industry using

iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund

(IYT) - Get Report

or the

Fidelity Select Transportation Fund

(FSRFX).

Market Vectors Brazil Small Cap ETF (BRF) - Get Report +6.5%

Small-cap firms are leading the BRICs this week, with BRF and the

Claymore/AlphaShares China Small Cap Index ETF

(HAO) - Get Report

turning out the strongest gains among ETFs designed to track this popular collection of emerging nations.

With Beijing taking steps to cool down China's overheating housing market, large-cap China ETFs like the

iShares/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund

(FXI) - Get Report

will likely be volatile in coming weeks. I continue to stand by HAO as the strongest play on this popular nation.

Losers

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report -14.3%

The VIX-based VXX has failed to capitalize on last week's impressive gains. This week, the fund is the biggest loser by a comfortable margin. Most of the month of May has been kind to the VIX as concerns in Europe and Asia bred broad market fear and uncertainty. However, the final week has proved trying as bulls returned with a vengeance, powering the market higher and driving fear to the back burner. The short, sudden shot of confidence has been enough to wipe out a considerable chunk of VXX's gains from the past month.

iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP) - Get Report -4.2%

The markets found some support this week after spending much of May being battered by the issues facing developed and emerging nations abroad. This, however, does not mean that any of the crises are behind us. This week, in response to the ongoing debt issues in Europe, Spain was slapped with a Fitch downgrade, and EWP managed to find a place among the ETF industry's biggest losers.

Although the debt-laden nation's leaders have taken steps to avoid a Greece-like catastrophe from taking place, for now it is not enough to make me bullish on the region. Continue to steer clear.

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Total Return Subindex ETN (SGG) - Get Report -8.9%

Sugar prices have continued to tumble into the end of May. The sweetener, which soared into the start of 2010, has since been on a nearly uninterrupted fall. Since the start of 2010, SGG has trimmed nearly half of its value. This week, sugar prices fell hard after top producers, Brazil, and India speculated that they would have stronger output.

-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned IAU and GDX.

Don Dion is president and founder of

Dion Money Management

, 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.