Investors focused on a pending vote on health care reform in the House, but health care was neither the winner nor the loser for the week. Instead, smaller emerging markets continue to gain, while the weakest sector ETFs return once again.


iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund ( THD) +6.1%

When 18th century British nobleman Baron Rothschild coined the phrase, "buy when there's blood in the streets," he was referring to the fortune he made playing the panic that followed the Battle of Waterloo. However, it seems that the same adage holds true this week for the Thailand ETF, the week's biggest ETF winner.

Demonstrators took to the streets of Thailand this week to protest unpopular Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Pouring containers filled with their own blood over Bangkok's buildings, these political activists at one point numbered over 100,000. Though the crowds have appeared to dwindle considerably, the images are sure to leave a lasting impression.

iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund ( EZA) +3.3%

The EZA rallied along with other emerging markets this week. Throughout the start of 2010, the fund has ping-ponged between its 50- and 200-day moving averages. However, since breaking out of this range at the start of March, the fund has been on a tear. This week, the ETF managed to reach new highs for 2010.

Market Vectors Indonesia ETF ( IDX) +2.2%

For the second week in a row, IDX scored a spot among this week's leading ETFs.

Last week, when covering IDX's weekly performance I mentioned that the fund was fast approaching its 2010 highs originally set in mid-January. This week, the fund managed to bust through that barrier and head higher.

Additionally, Indonesia was in the news this week when Barack Obama postponed his trip to the East to stay in Washington while Congress continues in conflict over health care reform. This is the second time this trip has been delayed.


United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG) -5.8%

iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN ( GAZ) -5.8%

United States 12-Month Natural Gas ( UNL) -2.8%

First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund ( FCG) -6.2%

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration Index Fund ( IEO) -4.4%

Natural gas prices dipped to five-month lows this week thanks to a report from the EIA that found that stockpile declines were less than expected. Inventories dipped 11 billion cubic feet during the week ending March 12. Analysts had forecast a decline of 30 billion.

In response to this dismal report, energy ETFs heavily exposed to the natural gas industry suffered a big hit. The decline was led by the infamous UNG, which has been in a free fall throughout 2010.

Aside from brimming supply, commodity-backed natural gas ETFs may have additional trouble brewing ahead of them as warmer spring weather weakens heating demand for the fuel.

iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index Fund ( ECH) -5.1%

iShares Chile has continued to falter as the nation works to clean up from the earthquake at the end of February. From a technical perspective, ECH broke below its 50-day moving average at the start of this week. If the fund shows signs of reversing in the near future, investors should keep an eye on this level as ECH has hovered there since the start of February, but failed to make a sustained move higher.

Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF ( KWT) -3.9%

Claymore/MAC Solar Energy Index ETF ( TAN) -5.3%

Though solar energy ETFs saw a bounce through the first half of March this week, that rally faltered, and the funds headed lower.

Solar energy has struggled recently as the U.S., Europe and other green energy leaders around the world shy away from their alternative energy initiatives in favor of battling growing debt.

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