Dion's Weekly ETF Winners and Losers

The S&P 500 gained 2.3% this week and investors took some bad economic data in stride, including a wider trade deficit and lower consumer confidence numbers.

The focus may shift to Asia next week with President Obama visiting China. Expect lots of attention on currency, commodities and trade. Although they didn't do well enough to merit a spot as the weekly winners, both iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 ( FXI) and Claymore/AlphaShares China Small Cap ( HAO) closed at new 52-week highs this week.

Here are the past week's winners and losers.

Winners

Market Vectors Russia ETF ( RSX) +6.3%

RSX benefited from a rise in emerging markets that was enough to overpower a decline in the price of oil, which the energy-heavy ETF often tracks.

iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors ( ICF) +7.3%

Vanguard REIT ETF ( VNQ) +6.4%

SDPR Dow Jones Wilshire REIT ( RWR) +6.5%

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate ( IYR) +6.2%

Real estate ETFs came back from the dead last week after spending seven weeks in decline. ICF had the best return of the broad ETFs, and the rebound was nice to see during an overall good week for the markets.

However, ICF still trades 5% below its Sept. 22 close of $52.02. A close above that level would be a positive sign for REITs and the broader market as well.

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX) +4.6%

Gold prices climbed to another record midweek as gold cracked the $1,123 per ounce level before retreating slightly. The Telegraph reported that the CEO of Barrick Gold ( ABX), Aaron Regent, said that the world may have reached "peak gold" in terms of annual mine production. Barrick recently reversed its policy of hedging gold production and has move aggressively to reverse existing hedges.

>>Vote in Our Poll: Bull or Bear?

Losers

iPath Nickel Total Return ( JJN) -7.5%

Nickel prices have diverged from the industrial metals since Oct. 21. Since then, JJN lost 18.5% compared to a 1.2% drop in PowerShares DB Base Metals ( DBB), which invests in aluminum, copper and zinc.

iPath Natural Gas ( GAZ) -0.5%

U.S. Natural Gas ( UNG) -4.9%

"UNG!" is the sound you make after U.S. Natural Gas takes another plunge. Supply is the killer here, as inventories continue to creep higher, and each week brings a new record. The Energy Information Administration speculated that Hurricane Ida may have played a role in this week's drop because the storm caused less damage than expected.

UNG hit $9 a share in early September and its back near that level again, with a close of $9.06 on Friday. A break below $9 would invite selling by technical traders.

WisdomTree Small Cap Japan ( DFJ) -2.5%

iShares Japan Small Cap ( SCJ) -2.7%

Japanese ETFs have been weak since peaking on Sept. 11, but shares really started dropping this week.

The slide coincides with the election of the DPJ, which ousted the LDP, ending decades of rule for the latter party. There was an initial burst of optimism, but it's clear now that investors don't believe the political shift can solve Japan's problems, which include massive deficits and demographic decline.

At the time of publication, Dion was long GDX.

Don Dion is president and founder of Dion Money Management, 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.

More from ETFs

60 Seconds: What's the Difference Between an ETF and a Mutual Fund?

60 Seconds: What's the Difference Between an ETF and a Mutual Fund?

Video: Why Shark Tank Star Kevin O'Leary Is Doubling Down on Internet Stocks

Video: Why Shark Tank Star Kevin O'Leary Is Doubling Down on Internet Stocks

Simple Investing Strategies Stand the Test of Time

Simple Investing Strategies Stand the Test of Time

This Technology ETF Could Be Signaling a Looming Tech Stock Rout

This Technology ETF Could Be Signaling a Looming Tech Stock Rout

The End of Retailpocolypse? This Retail ETF Is Soaring

The End of Retailpocolypse? This Retail ETF Is Soaring