NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Hundreds of companies will report their earnings this quarter, allowing investors get a feel for the state of industries ranging from tech to healthcare.

Energy, in particular, will be placed under the microscope this week as

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Exxon Mobil Corporation Report

,

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Chevron Corporation Report

and

ConocoPhillips

(COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report

release their reports. Already, analysts are forecasting that rising oil prices will fuel strong earnings in this sector. As the

Wall Street Journal

, points out, two factors are lending to crude's dramatic ascension: unrest in the Arab world and the global economic recovery.

ConocoPhillips will officially kick things off on Wednesday. In the meantime, investors can prepare themselves for this week of excitement by arming themselves with ETFs.

The

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Energy Sector Index Fund

(IYE) - Get iShares U.S. Energy ETF Report

is one fund investors may want to consider when looking to track this energy-heavy earnings week. This fund is designed to provide investors with a snapshot of the broad oil and gas industry. Therefore, it is not surprising that the fund lists Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips among its top holdings. Together, these three account for over 40% of the fund's total index.

IYE's dedication to the energy majors makes it attractive as a short-term play on this week's earnings calendar. However, when it comes to tracking the energy industry over the long term, I urge investors to look elsewhere. With close to half of the fund's index dedicated to three positions, the fund will be vulnerable to security-specific risks.

With 35% of its index spread across these three companies, the

Energy Select Sector SPDR

's

(XLE) - Get Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Report

index is slightly less top-heavy than IYE. However, once again, this fund is best utilized as a short-term play on this week's busy earnings calendar.

A fund such as the

TheStreet Recommends

SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF

(XOP) - Get SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF Report

is a considerably more stable option for investors looking to track energy over the long run. Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips can be found listed among the fund's index but they represent less than 5% of its assets.

Outside of these energy majors, XOP exposes investors to names such as

PetroHawk Energy

(HK)

,

Cabot Oil & Gas

(COG) - Get Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Report

,

Sandridge Energy

(SD) - Get SandRidge Energy, Inc. Report

and

Frontier Oil

(FTO)

.

Unlike IYE and XLE, XOP will not be steered by the action witnessed from individual companies since no one position comprises more than 2% of its index. XOP's performance will be determined by general strength across the energy industry.

In 2011, taking a diversified approach to tracking the energy markets has paid off. Since breaking away from the pack in mid-March, XOP has maintained a comfortable lead over its top heavy competitors.

Although earnings season will thrust energy into the spotlight over the next few days, beyond this week, expect oil, natural gas, and other components of this industry to remain on the collective minds of the investing public.

Using ETFs, well-educated investors can construct a portfolio that satisfies all types of investing strategies and time horizons. Be sure to do your homework before diving into any of these funds.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any of the equities mentioned.