Dion's Weekly ETF Winners and Losers

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

Winners

iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (EWP) 13.3%

The Spain ETF was the clear winner this week, led higher thanks in large part to a strong showing from top holding Banco Santander ( STD). The day-to-day action of EWP relies heavily on STD, which accounts for more than 20% of its index.

EWP's rally helped undo recent downward action, returning the fund to levels last seen in mid-November.

Despite the recent run-up in Spain's markets, investors should continue to avoid testing the waters with the Spain ETF. The debt crisis that weighed on the broader E.U. in 2010 persists today. When these concerns resurface, EWP will likely see some of the more dramatic action.

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ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL) 6.0%

Although it suffered a bit of a selloff during the latter half of the week, it was not enough to push the Palladium ETF off the winners list.

Rampant demand for precious metals and improving economic conditions bode well for this white metal. Also aiding palladium this week was the North American International Auto Show. This week, automakers and car enthusiasts flocked to Detroit to review the newest car models and industry technology.

This car industry's continued resurgence bodes well for palladium in the foreseeable future. The platinum group of metals is used extensively in the production of catalytic converters.

Guggenheim Solar Energy ETF (TAN) 4.8%

Although many parts of the U.S. spent the week de-icing or shoveling snow, the sun was shining on the solar energy industry. A string of wins helped power TAN through its 50- and 200-day moving averages for the first time since dipping below in mid-November.

This volatile corner of the market continues to face pressure as macro issues across the globe weigh on the long-term outlook for solar energy subsidies. Approach this industry with caution.

Losers

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) -12.4

The short-term VIX-based ETN has been on an almost uninterrupted downward trajectory, securing only two days of gains throughout the opening weeks of 2011. This has led the fund to once again test brand new all-time lows.

VXX's sister fund, the iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid Term Future ETN ( VXZ) has run into trouble in the first weeks of the new year as well and is currently exploring unexplored territory.

PowerShares India Portfolio (PIN) -3.5%

India has faced a flurry of headwinds recently, leading ETFs such as PIN and Market Vectors India Small Cap Index ETF ( SCIF) to face weeks of volatile action. This week, inflation fears stemmed by rising food prices sent investors fleeing from this popular emerging market.

Looking ahead, India will remain an attractive region of the globe given its status as an emerging-market giant. However, for now funds such as PIN and SCIF will likely behave in an unexpected manner.

iShares S&P National Municipal Bond Fund (MUB) -2.6%

The European debt crisis took a back seat this week, leading ETFs such as iShares Spain and iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund ( EWI) to notable gains. However, the same could not be said for the U.S., where rising debt is worrying investors and causing them to exit municipal bond-related products such as MUB.

The muni struggle has been noticed by ETF providers as well. This past week, ETF rising star Vanguard announced it would postpone the launch of a trio of muni bond ETFs, citing the industry's rampant volatility.

While interesting to watch, this is one corner of the bond market I would urge investors to avoid for the time being.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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