Exchange-traded funds tracking homebuilders were the worst performers of a holiday-shortened week following soft housing data and more fears of an economic slowdown. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction ( ITB) ETF gave back 11.2% to $15.32. The SPDR S&P Homebuilders ( XHB) ETF lost 10.3% to end the week at $16.92. On Monday, the National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales rose 0.4% to an annualized rate of 5 million units last month, as expected. Still, sales were down 20% from a year ago. The inventory of homes on the market fell 3.6% last month to a 10.3-month supply. Additionally, a weak jobs report Friday sank homebuilder stocks. The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 18,000 jobs in December, well short of economists' expectation of 70,000. The unemployment rate jumped to 5% from 4.7% in November, surpassing forecasts of 4.8%. The dismal jobs report highlighted the recent economic slowdown and stoked fears of a recession. Financial and retail-related ETFs were also among the losers of the week, slammed by the weaker-than-expected employment report. For the week, the Ultra Financial ProShares ( UYG) ETF slumped 9.9% to $36.73. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Broker-Dealers ( IAI) ETF was lower by 6.8% to $47.36. The Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) ETF lost 5.1% to $27.46. Among bundled securities tracking retailers, the SPDR S&P Retail ( XRT) ETF was down 8.9% to $30.93. The PowerShares Dynamic Retail ( PMR) ETF fell 8.5% to $14.43. The Retail HOLDRs ( RTH) lost 6.9% to end the week at $87.60.
Semiconductor-related ETFs were also lower on the week, pressured by several analyst downgrades. On Wednesday, Banc of America Securities cut Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD), Texas Instruments ( TXN), Intel ( INTC) and National Semiconductor ( NSM), among others. The Ultra Semiconductor ProShares ( USD) ETF plummeted 21.4% to $56.42. The Semiconductor HOLDRs ( SMH) sank 9.7% to $29.45. The iShares S&P GSTI Semiconductor ( IGW) ETF shed 9.2% to $54.40. On the other hand, energy-related ETFs were among few winners of the week as crude topped the mythical $100-a-barrel level briefly. Oil finished with a 2% advance over the four sessions at $97.91. The PowerShares DB Oil ( DBO) was up 2% to $35.42. The United States Oil ( USO) added 1.9% to $77.30. The iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Index ( OIL) rose 1.6% to $57. Bundled securities tracking gold futures were also higher for the week. Gold futures added 2.7% for the week to close at $865.70 an ounce. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX) ETF finished up 6.6% at $49.69. The iShares Comex Gold Trust ( IAU) ETF climbed 2.6% to $85.19. The streetTRACKS Gold Shares ( GLD) ETF rose 2.5% to $85.08.