NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.

iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund ( EWJ)

The Japanese marketplace will remain in the spotlight this week as the nation's recovery efforts head into their second week and commentators continue to sort out the winners and losers of the event.

Although it remains well off of its prequake levels, the iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund saw a nice jump at the end of the week. A portion of this rally could be attributed to the yen, which witnessed a steep rise throughout much of last week as investors sought protection.

Fearing that a strong yen could threaten strength of the nation's economy, Japan has begun to intervene in hopes of slowing the currency's appreciation. The effects could be seen on Friday, when CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust ( FXY) took a steep dip.

Investors holding EWJ will want to maintain a close watch on how this currency intervention plays out.

Meanwhile, investors looking for a way to gain access to the Japanese equity markets and avoid the effects of currency fluctuations can turn to the WisdomTree Japanese Hedged Equity ETF ( DXJ).

Market Vectors Nuclear Energy+Uranium ETF ( NLR)

The Japanese earthquake has ignited nuclear fears across the world, leading many to question the future of this alternative energy source.

In light of Japan's struggles to contain the damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, other nations around the globe have begun to question their own nuclear industries. Last week, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel announced the halt of seven of the nation's nuclear plants.

With sentiment soured towards this industry, funds such as NLR and the Global X Uranium ETF ( URA) will likely continue to behave in an uncertain manner in the days ahead.


International events have dominated headlines in recent weeks as Japan takes steps to recover from a devastating earthquake and tsunami, and as political turmoil continues to plague North Africa and the Middle East.

Stateside, however, there are stories investors will want to keep an eye on as well.

For instance, the financial industry could prove to be an exciting sector in the near future. On Friday, investors anxiously awaited word that the Federal Reserve would lift some restrictions imposed on banks during 2008. Reducing oversight will allow healing banks such as Wells Fargo ( WFC) and U.S. Bancorp ( USB) to boost dividends.

Although investors can use a variety of funds to gain exposure to the financial industry, KBE is particularly well-suited to track the industry's broad recovery given its well-diversified exposure to both Wall Street kings and smaller regional institutions.

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF ( XHB)

Investors will be treated to another battery of real estate-related economic data points this week. Among the most closely watched will be new-home sales on Wednesday. (On Monday morning, the National Association of Realtors said existing-home sales dropped 9.6% in February to a far worse-than-expected seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million units.)

The XHB and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund ( ITB) continue to be tricky funds to follow from a long-term perspective given the persistent headwinds facing the residential real estate market. Investors looking to try their luck with these funds should keep exposure small and focused.

iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund ( FXI)

FXI's index is designed to target a collection of China's most influential publicly traded companies. This week, six firms hailing from the fund's underlying index will step up to the earnings plate and report their respective performances.

Slated names include CNOOC ( CEO), China Life Insurance ( LFC), China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP), China Telecom ( CHA), Bank of China, and China Coal Energy. Together, these holdings account for close to 30% of the fund's total portfolio.

At the time of publication, Dion owned no shares of securities mentioned.

If you liked this article you might like

Intermediate Trade: iShares MSCI Japan ETF

Intermediate Trade: iShares MSCI Japan ETF

How ETFs Can Boost Your Portfolio

How ETFs Can Boost Your Portfolio

Asian Shares Hit Decade High On Record Profits (Again)

Asian Shares Hit Decade High On Record Profits (Again)

Intermediate Trade: iShares MSCI Japan ETF

Intermediate Trade: iShares MSCI Japan ETF

How Investors Can Avoid the Corruption Minefield in Asia

How Investors Can Avoid the Corruption Minefield in Asia