Exchange-traded funds tracking financial stocks were among the best performers this week as traders hoped -- again -- that banks are finally close to getting rid of the last of their soured assets.
Ultra Financials ProShares
soared 12.3% for the week. The
Financial Select Sector SPDR
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services
ETF added 5.9% or more.
Earlier this week, both
announced they'll be taking billions more in writedowns in the first quarter, leading traders to surmise that financial firms are making a final push to get rid of those bad assets and move past the subprime calamity that has dragged down the market. Also cheering traders was news that UBS and
have set plans to raise more capital.
Also doing well this week were commodities ETFs.
PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund
iShares S&P GSCI Commodity-Indexed Trust
rose 1.1% and 2.1%, respectively.
With crude prices rising, the
Oil Services HOLDRs
PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services
Ultra Oil & Gas ProShares
advanced 1.4% or more.
Bundled securities tracking gold-related stocks, however, took a collective slide as gold futures lost ground for the week. Over the past five trading sessions,
PowerShares DB Gold
lost 2%, the
iShares COMEX Gold Trust
shed 1.8%, and the
streetTRACKS Gold Shares
was off 1.8%.