NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are five ETFs to watch this week.Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF ( MOO) In the second week of October, Alcoa ( AA) will kick off the earnings season when it reports its earnings. In the days leading up to this event, there will a handful of companies that will be on tap. Monsanto ( MON), an agricultural giant, for instance, will report its quarterly earnings along with its outlook onWednesday. ETF investors looking to target this firm should turn to the equity-backed MOO. Designed to provide investors with exposure to the largest and most recognizable companies in the global agriculture industry, MOO sets aside ample exposure to companies like Mosaic ( MOS), Deere ( DE) and Potash of Saskatchewan ( POT). Monsanto is the fund's largest position, accounting for 8% of its portfolio. PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China Portfolio ( PGJ) The going has been rough for China-focused ETFs as investors express concerns about the nation's growth prospects. While the action for these products going forward could be choppy, one fund I would encourage investors to be especially hesitant towards is PGJ. Last Thursday, Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Justice was in the process of looking into accounting issues with Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges. In response to news of this investigation, shares of companies including Baidu ( BIDU), Sina, and Youku fell hard. According to the fund's website, PGJ's index is comprised of "U.S.-listed securities that derive a majority of their revenue from the People's Republic of China." Boasting exposure to firms including the three described above, this fund could be in for turmoil as regulators continue with their investigation. In late 2010, I explained in an article how PGJ's investing strategy differs from other China-backed funds like iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund ( FXI), which tracks a basket of Chinese "ordinaries." iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) Precious metals continue to see wild back-and-forth action, making it difficult for funds like SLV and iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) to find footing. Macroeconomic uncertainty continues to weigh on investor confidence so it will be interesting to see what is in store. It will be interesting to see how platinum and palladium perform when auto and truck sales numbers are released Monday afternoon. These two industry-linked metals are used extensively in the production of catalytic converters.
SPDR S&P Retail ETF ( XRT) The consumer has long been a source of resilience amidst these shaky market conditions. At the close of last week, however, clouds formed over this slice of the economic pie following the release of sub-par personal income data. The report found that incomes dipped by 0.1% in August, undershooting analyst estimates. According to Bloomberg, this marks the first decline since October 2009. Despite this poor showing, I encourage investors to continue to keep a close watch on the consumer. During the middle of the week, Costco ( COST) will report its earnings. The report will likely provide investors with additional clues as to how the consumer is faring. iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX) We are starting a new month but many of the same factors that have plagued the market in recent weeks continue to dominate discussion. After the see-saw action we witnessed during the final week of September, it will be interesting to see how things shape up during the opening days of October. I encourage investors to continue to rely on defensive assets to navigate the marketplace. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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