The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- Just a few trading sessions ago, PowerShares QQQ Trust 1 ( QQQ) hit a multiyear high. So did iShares Morningstar Large-Cap Growth ( JKE). It's not that the markets were ignoring the debt deadlock. SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) and CurrencyShares Swiss Franc ( FXF) were registering records as well. It was that summertime traders were taking a barbell approach to risk allocation, loading up on "fear" and "high beta." Simultaneously, they began dumping dividend ETFs in the middle of the continuum. Three days later, even the right side of the barbell was demonstrating vulnerability. And it was sure to sell off even more if the weekend didn't produce a viable solution. >> Get your ETF news and analysis on the go with TheStreet's iPad app. The credit collapse of 2008 was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime cataclysm. Yet the European debt crisis became a topic of debate in late 2009, hampering financial stocks in 2010 when investors questioned global financial company exposure to sovereign debt. Here in 2011, the possibility of a U.S. debt downgrade hit the financial sector yet again, because these are the institutions that may suffer the most from a lower rating on U.S. treasuries. Indeed, the two-year performance for SPDR Financials ( XLF) is weak when compared to the broad market S&P 500 SPDR Trust ( SPY). The sector looks even bleaker when evaluated against high-beta cyclical peers like SPDR S&P Energy ( XLE) or Vanguard Information Technology ( VGT).
Are these normal trading circumstances, though? One more congressional hiccup and you can forget about a reasonable bid-ask spread with DTN; favorable price execution may not be in the cards for fans of stop-limit sell orders. Problems aside, one might be inclined to pair DTN with a cyclical sector fund like Select Sector Industrial SPDR ( XLI) or the Select Sector Energy SPDR ( XLE). The combination could get you out of the sinkhole that defines financials these days. It's just a thought. You can listen to the ETF Expert Radio Show "LIVE", via podcast or on your iPod. You can follow me on Twitter @ETFexpert.