The Spain ETF enjoyed a second week of gains, helped higher as European debt crisis concerns take a backseat. Top holding Banco Santander ( STD) has been a major driver of EWP's performance, helping the fund undo losses and return to levels last seen in October. Spain's performance has been impressive, but it is important not to forget the factors weighing on this region of the globe. In the event that euro crisis fears return, EWP will likely be one of the shakier performers. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll
Natural gas prices gained ground this week, helped higher by an optimistic storage report from the Energy Information Administration and cold weather forecasts. In response, futures-backed products including UNG and iPath Dow Jones UBS Natural Gas Total Return Subindex ETN ( GAZ) saw a welcome string of positive action. Despite its recent spurt of strength, long-term investors should continue to use caution when venturing into natural gas ETFs. Oversupply still threatens the industry and could lead to continued shaky performance in the foreseeable future.
With earnings season in full swing, company performance numbers appear to be taking precedence over the larger macro issues facing the globe. This has boded well for the subsidy-dependent alternative energy industry, which tends to take a hit when issues such as the European debt crisis command headlines. TAN could still have some room to run here as it attempts to recover to levels seen before its November breakdown. However, investors should remain flexible. In the event that Europe and other macro issues fall back into the limelight, the fund could be in for a rocky road.
2011 has been a tough year thus far for the Indonesian marketplace. After seeing strong gains throughout 2010, the IDX has run into a roadblock, weighed down by inflation fears. As a result, the fund has tumbled hard and erased multiple months of gains, returning to levels last seen in September. IDX's performance in recent weeks once again reminds investors of the dangers that can come with playing emerging and frontier markets. These regions of the globe remain attractive, but investors must use caution and keep exposure small to avoid heavy losses.
The tech industry was abuzz this week with earnings reports and management shakeups from major names including Apple ( AAPL) and Google ( GOOG). One of the biggest negative stories of the week, however, was the weak earnings report from the closely watched F5 Networks ( FFIV).