Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX) - Get Report +12.9%
This week, basic materials ETFs climbed on news that Chinese regulators were mulling the possibility of paring back aggressive efforts to rein in the nation's overheating housing market.
Market Vectors Coal ETF
SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF
iPath Copper Total Return Subindex ETN
were among the biggest gainers this week.
iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ) - Get Report +8.3%
The Brazil ETF and a collection of other Latin America-focused ETFs such as
iShares S&P Latin America 40 Index Fund
iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index Fund
earned top spots this week.
On Thursday, many Latin American nations received a boost after the U.N.'s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean announced expected growth in the region is 5% this year. Brazil is forecast to lead this upward trend, at 7.6% growth.
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iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund (IEZ) - Get Report +7.6%
Strong earnings and the threat of tropical storm Bonnie helped lift crude prices this week, providing IEZ with an opportunity to head higher. This week, IEZ's top two holdings,
released their quarterly earnings reports. Halliburton managed to surpass analyst expectations while SLB's numbers were in line with what analysts had been expecting.
Claymore/AlphaShares China Small Cap Index ETF (HAO) - Get Report +7.1%
The Chinese markets at last found some strength this week after reports that regulators were planning to scale back policies aimed at cooling the nation's economy.
Smaller Chinese companies saw some of the largest gains, leading HAO to outperform large-cap China ETFs such as
iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report -13.9%
On Wednesday, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke offered concern testimony to Congress that sent markets reeling. However, this drop was short-lived as investors staged an equally impressive comeback the following day.
Despite these wild swings, the volatility index-tracking ETN failed to capitalize, finishing the week with heavy losses.
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare Providers Index Fund (IHF) - Get Report -2.9%
Most facets of the U.S. markets benefited this week as company after company reported strong quarterly earnings. Health care providers, however, struggled during this period, and ended the week on a low note.
Three top 10 holdings dragged on the fund:
Medco Health Solutions
. Each of these firms dipped around 10% for the week.
PowerShares DB Agriculture ETF (DBA) - Get Report -0.6%
Agriculture was another decliner this week. DBA's index of futures tumbled thanks to weakness from both cocoa and coffee. Together these two commodities account for 22% of the fund's total portfolio. But on the other side of the coin, sugar, which makes up 12% of the portfolio, rallied this week, earning
iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Total Return Subindex ETN
some of the strongest returns of all exchange-traded products.
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.