iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Total Return Subindex ETN (SGG) - Get Report +7.2%
After tumbling hard through the first half of 2010, sugar prices have dramatically reversed their trajectory, pushing SGG to levels last seen in March.
Although its ascension has been dramatic, the longer term outlook for sugar is far from sweet. This week, Brazil's Agriculture Ministry announced that they expect the price of the crop to fall over the next two years.
Investors looking for a more reliable way to play agriculture futures contracts should look to
PowerShares DB Agriculture
. This fund tracks a diverse basket of contracts which include wheat, corn, sugar and livestock. This week, DBA gained 3.3%.
United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) - Get Report +7.8%
Natural gas prices witnessed a nice jump this week as well thanks to an optimistic storage report from the Energy Information Administration. The best way for investors to play the natural gas industry is to skip UNG and opt for the equity backed
First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index ETF
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The fund has recently gone through an interesting transformation which has left it heavily exposed to a number of integrated oil majors such as
Royal Dutch Shell
. This week, a number of these firms reported stellar earnings.
FCG fell 1.5% this week.
iShares MSCI Austria Investable Market Index Fund (EWO) - Get Report +4.1%
A number of European Union-focused ETFs were leaders among this week's list of winners as fears regarding the region's debt issues were abated. Topping the list was EWO, which is designed to track the Austrian market.
In the midst of the debt crisis, Austria was singled out as being particularly vulnerable to tension due to its heavy exposure to Eastern European debt.
ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL) - Get Report +7.0%
The industry linked platinum group of metals scored strong gains this week, led by palladium. The strength, however, did not extend to all members of the precious metals industry. Gold prices tumbled as investors shied away from protection in favor of more risky assets. In response, the
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
suffered one of the sharpest drops of all ETFs this week.
SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (XSD) - Get Report -4.8%
Tech was a big laggard this week with semiconductors feeling the brunt of the pain. Late in the week, tech took a big hit when outlooks were downgraded for both
Despite this week's hiccup, I still believe that technology will be a strong region of the market to pay attention to going into the second half of 2010.
SPDR S&P Metal & Mining ETF (XME) - Get Report -2.8%
The mining ETF saw a strong run up heading into this week but failed to capitalize, erasing a good portion of those gains.
The broad materials industry will continue to face pressure as investors remain uncertain about the strength of the global economic recovery.
SPDR S&P Homebuilder ETF (XHB) - Get Report -2.3%
The market is still trying to come to terms with the fact that government-sponsored first-time homebuyer incentive program is no longer available to provide support to the real estate industry.
Investors looking to try their luck with XHB should remain prudent. The economic storms are still raging and real estate will remain a tricky sector to navigate.
At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned GDX.
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.