Following a shortened Thanksgiving trading week, investor attention was tuned to Dubai's debt restructuring. In the end, negative sentiment was largely relieved when the overall forecasted impact was found to be less than expected.
As the week progressed, media focus shifted to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, as President Obama pledged to send an additional 30,000 troops there by next summer. The president followed up this announcement with reassurance that, by 2011, soldiers would be withdrawn from the region.
On Wall Street,
Chairman Ben Bernanke fielded questions from the Senate Banking Committee as he pleaded his case for reappointment, and gold prices continued to break records, thanks to a weakening dollar. Before taking a hit on Friday, the yellow metal broke the $1,200 barrier and the dollar rebounded. Both still closed the week nearly unchanged, with the
Market Vectors Gold Miners'
five-day performance barely negative and the
Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners
With that in mind, here are the ETF winners and losers for the week.
Market Vectors Steel
PowerShares DB Base Metals
WisdomTree International Basic Materials Sector Fund
The basic materials sector outperformed this week as recovering nations around the world continued to demand the metals for raw building materials. Steel was the biggest winner of the group largely thanks to a Goldman Sachs blessing on Monday.
iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund
WisdomTree Japan Total Dividend Fund
WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund
iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap Index Fund
Gains across much of Asia this week helped boost all things Japan. On Thursday, the Nikkei 225 rose above the 10,000 level for the first time since the end of October. Additionally, talk of quantitative easing and a forced weakening of the yen ultimately led the Japanese markets higher.
However, the nation continues to face significant headwinds that will challenge these funds' stability as long-term investments.
Claymore/AlphaShares China Real Estate
iShares Cohen and Steers Realty Majors Index Fund
Real estate markets benefited both domestically and internationally this week as Hong Kong prices surged higher and conditions in the U.S. continued to heal. Though the IMF is concerned about possible bubble conditions facing Hong Kong, properties firms insist that, with prices still below 1997 levels, the market faces little risk.
Market Vectors Gulf States
As expected, the lightly traded MES took a hit this week due to the debt issues facing Dubai. This fund has more than a quarter of its assets placed on firms based in the United Arab Emirates, and, as the issues in Dubai work themselves out, this fund will continue to underperform.
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond
Thanks to positive market performance during most of this week, many investors were sent scrambling away from long-term treasuries.
United States Natural Gas
iPath Down Jones-UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN
First Trust-ISE Revere Natural Gas Fund
Though the list of losers this week was littered with numerous short and ultrashort instruments, the biggest losses came from the damaged natural gas sector. Although the U.S. already faced brimming supplies heading into the week, deliveries from Qatar, additional shale discoveries and a warm forecast further buried the UNG.
As I have predicted numerous times, the firms responsible for producing and storing the fuel fared much better than the actual commodity and helped save FCG from seeing as steep a drop.
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At the time of publication, Dion was long GDX, GDXJ, ICF and TLT.
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.