ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL) - Get Report +9.3%
PALL, the more volatile of the two physically based, platinum group of metals ETFs, scored the highest returns among the ETF industry this week. Because both palladium and platinum are used extensively in the production of catalytic converters for the auto industry, they tend to have a close correlation with the economy and the broader stock market than gold.
iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (EWI) - Get Report +7.4%
The euro managed to find some strength this week, causing the ETFs designed to track members of the European Union to power higher. EWI,
iShares MSCI France Index Fund
iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund
were among some of the biggest gainers this week.
Although things appear optimistic across the Atlantic, investors should remain cautious toward this region in the near future, as EU leaders are scheduled to release the results of their bank "stress tests."
United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) - Get Report +4.4%
BP's issues in the Gulf of Mexico continue to weigh on the broad oil producers, paving the way for Natural Gas to fall into favor. This ongoing issue, coupled with Thursday's better-than-expected storage report from the Energy Information Administration, led UNG and
iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Total Return Subindex ETN
to advance on the week.
Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy Index ETF (TAN) - Get Report+7.2%
The solar energy industry, as tracked by TAN, surged this week thanks to the resurgence in market confidence. When Europe's debt problems started coming to a head and the euro tumbled, alternative energy companies tumbled along with it since a large portion of demand comes from Europe.
TAN's ascension over the past week has brought it back to its 50-day moving average.
SPDR S&P Semiconductors ETF (XSD) - Get Report +5.1%
Strength could be seen across numerous sectors of the markets this week. Within the technology sector, semiconductors managed to lead the pack. XSD,
iShares S&P North American Technology Semiconductors Index Fund
PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductor Portfolio
all earned positions toward the top of this week's winners list.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report -13.0%
Although issues regarding the European Union's debt crisis persist, this week concerns were put on the sidelines. That caused the fear index and the exchange traded products designed to track it to stumble.
The past week's stumbles have brought the fund back to its 50-day moving average, a level last seen at the start of May.
PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish (UUP) - Get Report -2.0%
With the euro finding strength and U.S. markets marching higher, investors fled the greenback, driving UUP lower.
This week's strength was welcomed. However, this should not lead investors to completely abandon their defensive positions. With issues persisting overseas, holdings such as UUP and
SPDR Gold Shares
remain essential to weather economic storms.
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) - Get Report -1.8%
The homebuilder ETFs were unable to recover from Wednesday's report which found that housing starts dipped 10% in May. The slump can be attributed to the expiration of the government tax credit program.
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.