Dion's Thursday ETF Winners and Losers

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Welcome to Don Dion's Daily ETF Winners and Losers. Be sure to stop by each day to get a feel of who's winning and who's losing when it comes to ETFs.

Winners

Guggenheim Solar ETF ( TAN) 1.8%

The solar energy industry is powering higher today, helping to put an end to TAN's two-day streak of losses.

As the tensions facing the Middle East and North Africa continue to steal headlines and push the price of oil higher, alternative energy sources such as solar may fall into focus. TAN is a fund risk tolerant investors may want to keep on their radar in the coming days and weeks.

SPDR S&P Russia ETF ( RBL) 1.7%

Inflation pressure and political tensions have weighed heavily on a number of emerging markets throughout the new year. ETFs designed to track Russia's markets, however, have managed to stay buoyed. This is largely thanks to the nation's heavy exposure to energy titans such as Gazprom ( OGZPY) and Lukoil ( LUKOY).

As we move ahead, investors with exposure to RBL and Market Vectors Russia ETF ( RSX) will want to keep a close watch on commodity prices. If oil starts to stumble, this fund could be in for a dip.

India, a fellow BRIC component, is heading south today, along with the Market Vectors India Small Cap Index ETF ( SCIF).

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX) 0.8%

The markets are heading lower for another day as political tensions in Libya weigh on investor sentiment. In response to today's downward action the fear-based VIX ETNs are powering higher.

VXX has seen a steady climb over the past week and is currently trading above its 50-day moving average. Still, I urge conservative investors to steer clear of this product and the iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid Term Futures ETN ( VXZ). As we have seen in the past, these funds tend to swing wildly.

Losers

iPath Dow Jones UBS Cotton Total Return Subindex ETN ( BAL) -5.3%

After carving out new all-time highs last week, the cotton ETN appears to have run into headwinds, resulting in a string of choppy trading days.

Agriculture remains a popular region of the market. However, the recent performance of BAL once again brings to light the volatile nature of single-crop funds. The diversified PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund ( DBA) is a safer option for conservative long term investors.

iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund ( TUR) -3.6%

A combination of the political tensions sweeping North Africa and inflation fears have weighed heavily on the Turkey ETF, leading the fund to retreat back towards levels seen during the closing months of 2010. It will be interesting to watch this fund's action in coming days as its 50-day moving average gets closer to crossing below its 200-day moving average.

United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG) -2.2%

Natural gas prices are tumbling lower today as the broad U.S. markets behave in a mixed manner. Pressuring this fuel source is the weekly storage report from the Energy Information Administration. Although the past week's supply draw was in line with analyst expectations futures still turned lower.

All prices as of 2:16 PM EST

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund.

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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