5 ETFs to Watch This Week

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here are five ETFs to watch this week.

PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio ( PBS)

Top media firms including CBS, Discovery Communications ( DISCA), Time Warner ( TWX), Viacom ( VIA.B), DirecTV ( DTV) and Comcast ( CMCSA) will report earnings this week, providing investors with insight into the state of the media industry.

Sentiment towards this sector has faced pressure in recent weeks as the News Corp ( NWSA) hacking scandal has dominated headlines and led many to question the company's integrity.

PBS appears well-suited to defend against the possibility of future shakeups at Rupert Murdoch's media empire, however. Although it can be found among the fund's 10 largest holdings, shares of NWSA account for less than 5% of its index.

Like other subsector products, PBS is best suited for aggressive investors. Any exposure to this fund should be kept small and focused.

Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF ( KWT)

Major players from the solar energy industry are on tap for earnings this week. Though not the largest ETF designed to target this corner of the alternative energy sector, KWT will likely be the most heavily influenced given the calendar.

First Solar ( FSLR), MEMC Electronic Materials ( WFR), and GT Solar International ( SOLR) are KWT's three largest positions and together represent close to a third of its assets.

The solar energy sector is not for the faint of heart. Since peaking in mid-February, shares of KWT have stuck to a downward path, revisiting lows seen during this time last year. Expect debt issues facing the developed world to influence the sector in the days ahead. As governments work to reign in their looming debts, the subsidies the solar industry relies on will remain threatened.

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

The debt-ceiling negotiations in Washington have injected a strong dose of uncertainty into the marketplace. Such a scenario is ideal for the fear-tracking volatility index. Bloomberg noted late last week that the VIX has ascended to levels last seen in March following the earthquake in Japan.

VIX-backed ETNs have flourished in this shaky environment, and VXX witnessed gains throughout the past week and is once again trading above its 50-day moving average. Looking to the days ahead, it will be interesting to see if the ETN can sustain these levels.

iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund ( ICF)

As witnessed over the past week, the real estate sector continues to be a particularly vulnerable region of the marketplace. Despite estimate-beating earnings from industry bellwether D.R. Horton ( DHI) and an unexpected rise in home sales during June, homebuilder ETFs like iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund ( ITB) struggled to find support. By the close of last week, ITB was trading at new 2011 lows.

The past week was challenging for REITs as well. However, this corner of the real estate industry continues to show welcomed stability. Shares of iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund ( ICF) has stuck to a strong upward path throughout the year.

In the upcoming days, investors can expect to learn more about the current state and future prospects for REITs and ICF. Public Storage ( PSA), General Growth Properties ( GGP) and Boston Properties ( BXP) are slated to report quarterly earnings numbers.

iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund ( EWI)

The next few days should prove interesting for the Italy's markets as the nation struggles against the ongoing euro crisis and digests the earnings results from a number of the largest Italian firms. Among the companies slated to release their performance information are Enel, Intesa Sanpaolo, and Generali Assicurazioni, Unicredit , Telecom Italia ( TI), and Tenaris ( TS). These companies comprise over 40% of EWI's index.

Although strong earnings from these companies may provide EWI with a boost, I would urge conservative investors to stick to the sidelines. Given the macro issues facing this troubled nation, the fund will likely behave in a volatile manner in the days ahead.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund.

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