iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (EWA) - Get Report +8.2%
Australia's markets managed to pull off some strong gains this week. Strength from the materials industry, strong export numbers from China and speculation that the Aussie government may tone down its dramatic proposed mining tax all played a part in EWA's ascension this week.
iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP) - Get Report +11.0%
Strength in the euro and a good bond sale from Spain provided some welcome relief to some of the most troubled European nations. EWP and
iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund
were among some of the strongest international ETFs this week.
iShares MSCI Sweden Index Fund
was another big European gainer this week.
Playing Europe in the near future will remain a risky endeavor as the region's financial markets remain volatile.
iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Index Fund (ICF) - Get Report +8.1%
The real estate industry rallied this week after Standard & Poor's Ratings came out with an upbeat outlook for REITs. Fitch Ratings also offered an optimistic view of the industry.
Other direct beneficiaries of these reports included
SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF
Vanguard REIT ETF
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund (IEZ) - Get Report +6.6%
consistent fumbles regarding its efforts to halt the flow of oil poisoning the Gulf of Mexico have made playing the oil industry a tricky task. This week, however, crude producers managed to buck the negative press and were helped by a jump in oil prices. Shares of
also benefited as BP became the center of attention.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report -7.8%
Broad market strength led investors back into the markets this week, driving the fear-based VIX and ETNs linked to the index lower.
Despite this week's strength, the global economy is still jittery thanks to Europe's debt issues and markets have swung from oversold to overbought. Until volatility settles down, ETFs such as VXX will continue to be weekly winners or losers.
SPDR Semiconductors ETF (XSD) - Get Report-0.8%
Despite the market's gains this week, tech continues to face pressure and semiconductors took a shot across the bow on concerns over the global economic recovery. Going forward, however, the Semiconductor Industry Association appears optimistic, forecasting nearly 30% growth in worldwide chip sales over the next few years.
United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) - Get Report 0.0%
A flat return counts among the losers in a week when the S&P 500 Index gained 2.5% and most ETFs were up for the week.
Although oil prices saw strength this week, with
up 4.7%, the same could not be said for natural gas. In a report issued by the Energy Information Administration, the agency found that fuel supplies saw a larger than expected increase over the past week.
Heading into the coming weeks, natural gas investors will want to keep an eye on the weather. If the forecast is mild, gas prices may see a tumble.
Claymore Shipping ETF (SEA) - Get Report
On Friday, investors once again got the opportunity to play the global maritime industry with SEA. In late April the fund was closed due to a technical issue of too few shareholders voting their proxies. In its absence, shipping bulls were forced to settle for alternative options such as the iShares Dow Jones U.S.
Transportation Average Index Fund
, which boasted only minor exposure to the industry.
SEA also has 18% exposure Greece, the largest of all ETFs currently trading today. It was closed during the period when Greek stocks (along with global stocks) tumbled.
At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned ICF.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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.