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

Winners

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) 8.6%

Throughout the opening weeks of 2011, the markets have moved to a relentless upward trajectory. This week, however, headwinds mounted and fear made a comeback as political unrest in the Middle East and North Africa sent investors fleeing.

In response to these jitters, the fear-tracking VXX and iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid Term Futures ETN ( VXZ) witnessed gains throughout most of the week. Although both products took a hit as nerves settled toward the end of the week, it was not enough to unseat VXX from the winners list.

Looking ahead, VXX will likely continue to be interesting to watch. However, as we have seen in the past, volatility-tracking products tend to behave in a wild fashion and should be avoided by conservative investors.

iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN (OIL) 9.6%

Oil prices surged higher this week as political protests strangled production coming out of nations such as Libya. Supply concerns helped lift OIL and fellow futures-based fund, United States Oil Fund ( USO) to levels last seen in early May, 2010.

Oil will likely be in the news during the coming week as investors keep a close watch on the commodities industry. Investors looking for a safe way to access this industry should turn to products aimed at oil and gas producers such as the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF ( XOP).

iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond Index Fund (TLT) 3.1%

Skittish investors fled the marketplace this week in light of geopolitical tensions sweeping the Middle East and Northern Africa. In an effort to protect from this turmoil, many turned to the safety of long term U.S. treasuries.

TLT's gains this week helped it surpass its 50-day moving average for the first time since it fell below the level in mid-October.

Losers

iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (TUR) -8.1%

The Turkish ETF has faced ample headwinds throughout 2011 as debt issues continue to plague Europe and political unrest sweeps Libya and other nations hailing from the Middle East and Northern Africa. This barrage of turmoil has caused TUR to retreat considerably, returning to levels last seen prior to the fund's impressive run up in late 2010.

The outlook is cloudy for TUR. Investors should use extreme caution when looking at this region of the globe.

ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL) -7.0%

The palladium ETF retreated below its 50-day moving average this week as investors shunned the volatile, industry-linked precious metal.

Investors interested in the platinum group of metals will want to keep a close watch on the auto and truck sales numbers slated to be released on Tuesday. Due to their extensive use in the production of catalytic converters, PALL and the platinum-linked ETFS Physical Platinum Shares ( PPLT) tend to move in correlation to the automotive industry.

Guggenheim Airline ETF (FAA) -6.3%

The fear of rising fuel costs weighed heavily on the airline industry resulting in a steep tumble for the FAA.

In the past, I have warned long-term investors that FAA is a dangerously top-heavy fund. Together, Southwest ( LUV), United Continental ( UAL), and Delta ( DAL)account for over 40% of its total portfolio. Investors looking for a safer way to access transports stocks should turn to the iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index Fund ( IYT).

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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