NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are this week's winners and losers.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN
For another week, Europe's debt woes took center stage, igniting investor fears and driving many back into the comfort of safe-haven asset classes.
The "risk-off" mentality boded well for exchange-traded products designed to follow the fear-tracking VIX index. The VXX saw weakness at the end of the week, but not before the ETN managed to reclaim previous November highs.
The VIX's 50-day moving average bears watching. Since initially breaking below this level in early October, the fund has tested and failed to sustain a break higher on four separate occasions.
With a shortened holiday trading week ahead of us, the inherent choppiness of the market could be magnified. Tread carefully.
iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund
Long-term U.S. Treasuries were a popular destination for skittish investors seeking shelter from macroeconomic headwinds. TLT bounced off of its 50-day moving average and returned to levels last seen at the start of the month.
With Europe's economic crisis still unresolved, there is a great deal of market-related uncertainty. Defensive asset classes will likely remain in vogue as we look ahead.
Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF
Over the past week Solar energy ETFs managed to break out of the sideways path they had stuck to since their bounce at the start of October. The action, however, was not to the upside. Heading into the final full month of November, KWT and
Guggenheim Solar ETF
are again trading at all-time lows.
Many market participants will be watching solar companies as
Yingli Green Energy
prepare their earnings reports. Investors would be wise to stay on the sidelines during this period.
WisdomTree India Earnings ETF
During the opening half of the week, I questioned whether
India would fall into focus as we head toward the end of 2011. Throughout the year, the nation has faced heavy pressure as issues including inflation and corruption have soured sentiment.
Over the past few days, headwinds have remained intact. A troubling inflation report set the mood at the start of the week, leading funds like EPI and
iShares S&P India Nifty 50 Index Fund
to multiday losses.
As I noted last week, pure-play India ETFs like these are not the best bets for conservative investors. Instead, those looking to track the emerging-market giant should set their sights on diversified international plays.
Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF
It was a rough week across the board for the precious metals industry as ETFs ranging from the equity-based GDXJ to the bullion-tracking
iShares Silver Trust
ended the week with notable losses.
Physical-gold ETFs such as
iShares Gold Trust
SPDR Gold Shares
will be interesting to watch in the days ahead. The past week's losses have sent both back to their 50-day moving averages. Whether or not this level proves to be a point of support remains to be seen.
iShares MSCI Austria Investable Market Index Fund
Europe's concerns remained in focus, creating turmoil for troubled EU members like Italy and Spain. It was the Austria ETF, however, that ended up leading this week's retreat. France was another notable decliner, as indicated by the standout losses from the
iShares MSCI France Index Fund
This week's action is a reminder that, although the media tends to hone in on individual countries when talking the Europe crisis, its impact can be felt across the entire monetary bloc. Conservative investors should steer clear of this region.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the iShares Gold Trust.