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


First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund ( FBT) +12.4%

SPDR S&P Biotechnology ( XBI) +4.8%

PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Portfolio ( PBE) +6.8%

Biotech ETFs showed strength throughout this week largely thanks to buyout news. The biggest spike came Monday when both Millipore ( MIL) and OSI Pharmaceuticals ( OSIP) made M&A headlines.

Merck KGaA, in an effort to improve its position in the industry, agreed to buy out Millipore, offering the firm more than $7 billion. Astellas Pharma made a $3.5 billion hostile takeover bid for OSI Pharmaceuticals.

Sequenom ( SQNM) also jumped, after a Cantor Fitzgerald analyst upgraded the company's shares to buy from hold, while InterMune ( ITMN) rallied on Friday when the market reacted positively to an FDA review of the firm's drug for a fatal lung disease.

Market Vectors Steel ETF ( SLX) +8.9%

SLX rallied as iron ore price negotiations between top producers and Asian steelmakers continued this week. Currently, the talks are leaning strongly in favor of top ore producers like Rio Tinto ( RTP) and Vale ( VALE) which, if successful, could see an 80% hike in prices. This would be the second largest price increase in history and help pave the way for industry expansion.

Russian Steel giant Mechel aided SLX's strong performance this week when shares surged on news that the company had received a loan extension from Gazprombank, which extended $1 billion of loans to six years from three.

ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL) +10.3%

Solid February sales numbers from the U.S.' Big Three auto makers helped power PALL higher, making it the top performing precious metal this week. Palladium and its cousin platinum typically rise in step with automobile demand because they are essential metals used in the production of catalytic converters.


United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG) -4.0%

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN ( GAZ) -4.8%

Natural gas futures slumped to a three-month low on news that inventories dipped less than predicted. As expected ETFs designed to track the price of this fuel, including the infamous UNG, were dragged along for the ride. I have consistently warned investors that this fund is dangerous. Living up to my warnings, it managed to hit record lows this week.

While commodity-backed natural gas plays suffered this week, FCG and AMJ, which track natural gas via the companies that explore, develop, transport and store the fuel, managed to stay in the black.

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Grains Subindex Total Return ETN ( JJG) -3.0%

PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund ( DBA) -1.7%

Sinking grain prices weighed heavily on commodity backed agriculture ETFs like JJG and DBA this week. Futures prices saw a drop thanks to a strengthening dollar and a more optimistic weather forecast for major growing regions including the Midwest and South America.

CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust ( FXB) -0.7%

The pound got punished this week for a variety of factors. At the start of the week I mentioned two headwinds that have weighed on the currency's strength over the past few days.

For one, it was announced on Monday that U.K.-based Prudential ( PUK) had offered AIG ( AIG) more than $35 billion for its Asian life insurance business, AIA. This cash-heavy deal will involve selling pounds in exchange for dollars.

Secondly, investors have begun to worry about the U.K.'s ability to rein in its growing debt. With elections coming up, the Conservative Party, which investors see as more apt to employ fiscal discipline, has seen its once-impressive lead over the Labor party cut significantly.

-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

At the time of publication, Dion did not own any of the equities mentioned.

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.

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