NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Energy earnings, trouble abroad and the upcoming non-farm payroll numbers will all help to make this an interesting week for ETF investors.
Here are five ETFs to watch as investors navigate the conflicting currents of the market.
While its name suggests a play on the timber industry, CUT's portfolio also includes timberland REITs like
. As Plum Creek prepares to release its earnings, it's not looking like this ETF will make the cut.
If Rayoner's earnings last week are any indication of what's in store for Plum Creek, in-line profit performance will not be enough to compensate for sagging industry demand. During the one-month period that ended Jan. 28, CUT fell more than 7%.
Despite the short-term weakness in timberland real estate, the valuable land holdings and tax-advantaged status of firms like PCL could help to generate returns over time.
SPDR Gold Shares
As the non-farm payroll numbers register later this week, investors may once again turn to gold to hedge against the expectation of inflation.
GLD has been an outperformer during the week of the non-farm payrolls release, and there's plenty of indication that jobs are a top issue for investors. Look for a surge in GLD this week as investors digest the new data.
A volatile dollar has been attempting a comeback, and the
has been quick to pledge to stave off inflation. But if the non- farm payroll report comes back worse than expected, it will be hard to convince investors that more government spending isn't on the horizon.
Claymore/Delta Global Shipping Index ETF
Two major hurdles face SEA, and the pressure from these challenges will make this ETF one to watch in the week ahead.
First, a huge supply glut is dragging down some of the companies in this diversified maritime portfolio. Some vessels, like bulkers, are still thriving off demand for raw materials in developing markets. Other fleets, however, that transport finished goods are trapped in port with nowhere to go.
Adding to the pressure is the second hurdle: a sovereign debt crisis in Greece. With 18% of its portfolio allocated to Greek companies, growing financial concerns could also sway SEA.
PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish
The dollar has been making a comeback, and UDN's pair -- the
PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF
-- had a run-up at the end of next week.
These two funds will be interesting to monitor in the week ahead as the non-farm payroll data and broader economic recovery come into question.
Non-farm payroll data has been steadily improving in recent months. Any setback, however, could quickly reverse currency trends as investors steel themselves against the specter of inflation. Look for fluctuations in UDN and UUP toward the end of the week.
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index Fund
, which comprises nearly 7.5% of IEO's underlying portfolio, is set to report earnings today. APC is a leader in deep-water drilling, and recent discoveries could help to drive the stock, and IEO, higher.
While some investors have been rotating out of natural gas and oil holdings as the dollar strengthens, the long-term potential for this ETF makes it worth a second look.
America's abundant supply of natural gas, coupled with energy legislation, will make a transition from oil a likely trend. IEO offers exposure to both natural gas and oil, putting this fund and its investors in a solid position in the meantime.
It's tough to tell which way APC's earnings will sway IEO in the week ahead. Investors should watch for dips, however, and take the opportunity to jump in this fund for the long term.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
At the time of publication, Dion owns PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish.
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.