The transportation sector remains an interesting corner of the market to watch. Despite concerns about the detrimental impact of rising fuel prices, companies responsible for moving people and goods from place to place have enjoyed notable stability. Airlines, in particular, have enjoyed strength, scoring FAA a spot among the week's winners for the second week in a row. A combination of oil's weakness throughout this week and a bout of strong earnings has helped provide this sector with some lift. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) 7.1%
The VIX-based ETNs managed to stage a comeback over the past week as sweeping commodity weakness and other factors rekindled investor fears. As evidenced by the April flow report issued by the National Stock Exchange, VXX has become a popular product among investors. During the past month, the fund witnessed asset inflows totaling $400 million. I urge conservative, long-term investors to continue to avoid this fund and other VIX-related products. While exciting to watch, these funds have seen rampant volatility on a number of occasions.
iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) 1.7%
Market jitters sent investors pouring into long-term Treasuries last week. In response, TLT managed to power higher, breaking through its 50-day moving average. With the past week's gains, the fund has returned to levels last seen at the start of December 2010. TLT remains an attractive option for conservative investors looking to defend against market turmoil. It will be interesting to see whether the fund can maintain its current strength in the days and weeks ahead.
The physically based SLV stood out as the biggest ETF loser this week, as sellers put an end to the precious metal's dramatic multimonth ascension. Silver was not alone in the dip, however. Fellow shiny resources including gold and palladium also witnessed declines, leading iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) and ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL) to losses. In the days ahead, silver and other resources will likely be in the spotlight and may continue to prove volatile.
Oil was not left out of this week's sweeping commodity downturn. As crude prices dipped below $100 per barrel, the futures-based USO broke lower and pierced its 50-day moving average for the first time since late February.