Dion's Weekly ETF Winners and Losers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are this week's winners and losers.


SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF ( XME) 14.7%

Growth-correlated sectors scored industry-leading gains last week as confidence returned and investors regained an appetite for risk. XME and other materials-focused ETFs such as Market Vectors Coal ETF ( KOL) and the Market Vectors Steel ETF ( SLX) were among the biggest movers.

Energy proved popular as well. The SPDR Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF ( XOP), iShares Dow Jones Oil Equipment & Services Index Fund ( IEZ) and First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund ( FCG) were all found heading higher.

The past week's strength is encouraging. However, investors should avoid becoming complacent. As we have seen in recent months, investor sentiment can shift quickly. Those without a proper line of defense can be left vulnerable to losses.

iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund ( EWY) 12.3%

As investors piled back into risk, emerging markets such as South Korea and South Africa proved to be popular destinations. Both EWY and the iShares MSCI South Africa Index Fund ( EZA) managed to recover all of the losses suffered during the late-November sell off.

In the event that market strength persists as we head into the final month of the year, funds like EWY and EZA could continue higher.

iShares MSCI France Index Fund ( EWQ) 12.4%

European debt woes were cast to the sidelines this week, leaving room for funds like EWQ, the iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund ( EWG) and iShares MSCI EMU Index Fund ( EZU) with some room to power higher.

Despite these gains, I encourage investors to steer clear of Europe. The coming week could be a dicey one for these funds. On Friday, EU leaders are slated to convene in Brussels for a summit. How this meeting pans out will likely play a major role in determining the near-term action of these nations' markets.

ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL) 13.6%

Palladium was a standout performer within the precious metals industry this week as reinvigorated investors sought out market-correlated assets. Aside from investor risk appetite, a strong auto sales report helped to further stoke PALL higher.

The strong market action boded well for gold miner ETFs. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX) rose more than 5% while the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF ( GDXJ) enjoyed approximately 10% gains.


iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX) -17.2%

Following a rough couple of weeks which included the worst Thanksgiving week since the 1930s, investors kicked off the final month of 2011 on a strong note.

As investors regained confidence and ventured back into the global marketplace the fear index took a heavy shot across the bow, ultimately ending the week at November lows.

VXX's 50-day moving average provided little in the way of support as the fund suffered five consecutive days of declines.

iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund ( TLT) -1.6%

After a five-day slide, long-term U.S. treasuries managed to regain some traction, closing out the week with solid gains. This upward action was not enough to keep TLT off of this week's losers list, however.

Defensive assets have fallen out of favor over the past week. However, investors should not avoid writing them off entirely. Funds like TLT can help mitigate losses in the event that fear makes a comeback.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.


At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any of the equities mentioned.

If you liked this article you might like

Steel Stocks Tank on Trump Tariff News

Steel Stocks Tank on Trump Tariff News

Trader's Daily Notebook: Bears Put Up Their Dukes

Trader's Daily Notebook: Bears Put Up Their Dukes

Southern Copper Investors Have a Reason to Be Bullish Going Into Earnings: Chart
Freeport Is Ready to Play Catch-Up

Freeport Is Ready to Play Catch-Up

Trader's Daily Notebook: Keeping a Short Leash

Trader's Daily Notebook: Keeping a Short Leash