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Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF ( REMX) 2.9%

Shares of Molycorp ( MCP) are surging nearly 15% today on news that the firm will form a joint venture with Japan's Hitachi. The two firms will work together to produce rare earth magnets. MCP's strength is leading the rare-earth ETF to a day of notable gains.

MCP represents over 5% of REMX's portfolio, placing it as the sixth-largest index constituent.

Market Vectors China ETF ( PEK) 2.7%

A broad collection of China-focused ETFs are heading higher today. Leading the pack is the Market Vectors PEK. Unlike other ETFs, which track a basket of Chinese equities, PEK utilizes derivatives in an attempt to mimic the performance of China A-Shares.

While the approach is unique, the popularity of the fund has led it to disconnect from its underlying assets, resulting in a premium that currently stands at over 14%.

As long as this disconnect persists, it will be difficult to predict how PEK will perform.

SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF ( KRE) 2.4%

The regional banks have staged a dramatic rally throughout December, resulting in KRE recovering to levels last seen in mid-May.

The financial industry, as a whole, faced headwinds throughout 2010 as the threat of sweeping Washington regulation loomed. Now that the bill has been passed, it will be interesting to see how funds such as KRE fare in the new year.


United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG) -3.2%

Mild weather forecasts are wreaking havoc on the natural gas industry and causing futures-based funds, such as UNG and iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Total Return Subindex ETN ( GAZ), to tumble on Tuesday.

Despite the fuel's dip, however, the equity-backed First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund ( FCG) is scoring gains, jumping 1.0% in early afternoon trading.

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN ( VXX) -1.6%

The ongoing economic recovery has helped power the S&P 500 to levels last seen prior to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. As we close in on the end of the year, it will be exciting to see if the markets can hang onto this noteworthy level.

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