NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Welcome to Don Dion's "ETF Winners and Losers." Be sure to stop by throughout the week to find out which ETFs are gaining or losing.


iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund ( EWI) 4.2%

Easing fears have helped the Italy-tracking ETF recover a respectable portion of the losses it suffered during Wednesday's tumble. Despite its two days of gains, however, I would encourage long-term investors to steer clear of this fund.

European economic woes will likely remain in focus during the days ahead so investors should use caution.

Market Vectors Steel ETF ( SLX) 3.4%

Upward market action is luring investors back into growth-correlated industries. Some popular destinations appear to be steel, solar, and energy. SLX, Guggenheim Solar ETF ( TAN) and PowerShares Dynamic Oil & Gas Services Portfolio ( PXJ) are seeing notable gains.

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF ( XHB) 3%

Real estate players are seeing a lift with XHB leading the pack higher. Looking to the week ahead, this corner of the housing sector will be interesting to watch. From an earnings perspective, retail giants Home Depot ( HD) and Lowes ( LOW) are slated to report earnings. Meanwhile, on the economic front, investors will want to keep a watch on Thursday's housing starts report.


iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX) -4.7%

Fear is taking a back seat as investors regain a taste for risk. This, in turn, is driving VXX to its second day of notable losses. During the second half the week, the VIX has given up all of the gains during its steep Wednesday run-up.

The volatile VIX-tracking products has shined through over the past week. As I've noted, these instruments are not suitable for conservative investors.

United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG) -1.5%

Major U.S. indices are witnessing impressive gains at the end of the week. However, on the commodities front, the action is choppy. While oil is treading higher and flirting with the $100 mark, ETFs linked to natural gas and certain agricultural products are in negative territory.

PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund ( UUP) -1%

Sweeping market strength is driving investors out of defensive assets such as the U.S. dollar. It has been a rollercoaster week for the greenback as European economic issues continue to dominate investor sentiment.

Although safe havens are falling out of favor as we approach the weekend, I would encourage investors to avoid going all in at this point. Rather, looking ahead, there are plenty of hurdles still in the way. Maintaining a line of defense will be crucial to safe navigation.

All prices as of 2:14 PM EST

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.


At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish Fund.