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