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. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll
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.
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.
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.