NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are this week's ETF winners and losers.


iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB) - Get Report +3.45%

Thanks to some optimistic economic data points regarding the state of the real estate industry, the homebuilders managed to surge during the shortened holiday week, leading ITB and

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF

(XHB) - Get Report

to lock in some of the ETF industry's strongest gains.

As we look to the close of 2010 and start of 2011, investors should continue to exercise caution when it comes to traversing this industry. While funds such as ITB and XHB have seen strong gains in December, real estate remains a rocky region of the market.

SPDR KBW Bank ETF (KBE) - Get Report +3.42%

Although the sector faced staggering headwinds throughout 2010 as Washington debated, voted on, and passed the sweeping Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, in the closing month of the year the industry has seen some welcome gains.

> > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll

This week, strength could be felt across the financial industry, buoying both Wall Street goliaths and smaller regional institutions. This sweeping upward action bodes well for KBE, which sets aside respectable portions of its index to both.

Market Vectors Coal ETF (KOL) - Get Report +3.98%

The coal ETF has seen an impressive run-up throughout the final months of 2010 as investors regain confidence in the global economic recovery. With this week's gains KOL is now trading at levels seen at the close of 2008.

Coal looks like a promising industry heading into the new year as emerging markets such as China and India seek out resources to fuel their economic growth.


iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) - Get Report -1.54%

December has been a strong month for the U.S. marketplace, and this past week, the

S&P 500

managed to close at its highest level since the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

As a result of this impressive upward action, the fear-based VIX ETNs have been battered. Although they managed to regain some steam late in the shortened week, both

VXX and iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid Term Futures ETN

(VXZ) - Get Report

tumbled, treading into brand new all-time lows.

iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index Fund (ECH) - Get Report -2.23%

ECH has seen a strong run-up throughout the latter half of the year as investors seek ways to access the attractive emerging regions of the globe. However, looking to the near future, the Chile ETF may face headwinds.

This past week, the nation's central bank warned that Chilean stocks are overpriced. Fearing that intervention is in the near future, this has led some investors to flee the nation's markets.

Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (VNM) - Get Report -4.47%

The Vietnamese marketplace has seen dramatic whipsaw action in December, causing VNM to swing wildly and reminding investors of the risks associated with exposure to frontier nations.

Late this week, VNM ran into ample headwinds when ratings agency Standard and Poor's cut the nation's currency rating, citing concerns about the nation's economic stability.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.