Don Dion's Weekly ETF Winners and Losers

Although the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN's performance has been impressive lately, it's still a risky play.
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iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN

(VXX) - Get Report


Thanks to the ongoing economic trials facing Europe and China, investors are leaning toward the fear side of the fear/greed spectrum. These jitters caused investors to pour out of the market and into the volatility ETN, which managed to lead the pack this week.

Since its launch, VXX has spent the vast majority of the time treading lower. However, in the past month the fund has managed to reverse all of its 2010 losses. Although its recent performance has been impressive, I would not advise retail investors to try their luck with VXX. Any market reversal likely will wipe out these gains just as quickly.

iPath Dow Jones UBS Sugar Total Return Subindex ETN

(SGG) - Get Report


The sugar ETN scored some nice gains this week despite tepid returns from other agricultural products. The broad agriculture-backed ETN,

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Agriculture Total Return Subindex ETN

(JJA) - Get Report

gained only 0.3% this week.

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Prior to May, SGG had been on a nearly uninterrupted slide lower as a combination of decreased import demand and ideal weather set the stage for sugar's price to tumble. The sweetener may soon see a jump, but I would advise investors to use caution. This fund is particularly volatile.

CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust

(FXY) - Get Report


This week, the euro was not the only currency in the news. Australia's currency took a heavy shot across the bow as economic troubles around the globe weighed on the Aussie dollar. The flight from this down-under dollar has been to the benefit of the yen, which scored impressive gains this week. FXY managed to surpass both its 50- and 200-day moving averages this week.


ETFS Physical Palladium Shares

(PALL) - Get Report


The palladium ETF had a tough week, sliding a much as 20% before seeing a reversal on Friday. Because it tends to move in a similar fashion to the rest of the economy, the ongoing economic troubles facing many dominant regions of the globe made for a shaky performance.

Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF

(GDXJ) - Get Report


This week, the junior gold miners tumbled every day except Friday, revisiting prices last seen in early March.

I advise against trying to time GDXJ,

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF

(GDX) - Get Report

and physically based gold ETFs like

SPDR Gold Shares

(GLD) - Get Report

for short-term plays. Rather, I believe that investors should maintain a position in the yellow metal for the long term to protect against future fear-fueled market downturns.

iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund

(EWA) - Get Report


Although Europe's troubles could be felt in markets around the globe, one of the heaviest-hit nations was Australia. A combination of pressure from sliding commodity prices and a slipping Aussie dollar sent the nation's stock market spiraling to 10-month lows.

Market Vectors Coal ETF

(KOL) - Get Report


Australia's heavy reliance on the commodity sector was another big driver to EWA's losses this week. ETFs designed to track resource producers were some of the biggest lags on the market this week. Heavy losses could be felt from funds including KOL,

Market Vectors Steel ETF

(SLX) - Get Report


SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF

(XME) - Get Report


At the time of publication, Dion Money Management was long 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.