Dion's Weekly ETF Winners and Losers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here are my ETF winners and losers for this week.

Winners

ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL) 6.1%

The physically based palladium ETF has enjoyed two solid weeks of industry-leading gains. This rally has helped the fund regain all of the losses suffered in the latter half of November. In addition, the fund has managed to pull ahead of fellow precious metal ETFs like iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) and iShares Silver Trust ( SLV) on a monthly basis.

Heading into next week, PALL should be interesting to watch. Investors should use caution, however. Palladium is heavily influenced by market sentiment. In the event that fear makes a comeback, this bullion-backed fund could face some choppy action.

iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund ( ITB) 3.1%

Although it gave back a good portion of its gains during Thursday's sell-off, the homebuilder ETF still managed to end the week in positive territory. Thanks to a nine-day streak of upward action, the fund has powered through its 200-day moving average. This is the first time this level has been pierced since early July.

The past few weeks of strength have been encouraging, but I urge investors to continue to avoid this corner of the real estate sector. Funds like the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index Fund ( IYR) and the iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund ( ICF) are stronger bets.

iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund ( THD) 2.2%

Widespread flooding and sweeping macroeconomic concerns are among the factors that have threatened the strength of the Thailand ETF in recent months. In the face of these headwinds, however, the fund has held strong, recovering nearly all of the losses suffered from its September sell-off. This rally has helped THD power higher in our short-term momentum rankings.

Looking to the near term, it will be interesting to see of THD can capitalize on this week's gains. Currently, the fund is testing its 200-day moving average.

Losers

Market Vectors Russia ETF ( RSX) -8.9%

RSX enjoyed impressive gains heading into December as waning market fears drove many back into risk. This upward action was quickly dashed this week, however, as political unrest over election results took the spotlight.

Looking to the near term, I encourage investors to watch RSX and other Russia-linked ETFs from the sidelines. We have seen on a number of occasions how political instability can negatively impact a nation's marketplace.

Guggenheim Solar ETF ( TAN) -2.6%

The solar energy ETF struggled to gain footing over the past week, even as investors learned that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A) had taken a dramatic step into the industry.

On Friday, I explained that many of the same factors that have threatened TAN and other alternative energy ETFs in 2011 continue to be in play. It may be tempting to follow Buffett's lead here, but I urge investors to hold off. This is not a sector for the faint for heart.

United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG) -7.2%

UNG and other futures-linked natural gas ETFs tumbled to all-time lows this week as issues like oversupply weighed heavily on the fuel's prospects.

I've encouraged investors on a number of occasions to steer clear of these funds. An equity-backed option like the First Trust ISE Revere Natural Gas Index Fund ( FCG) (FCG) is a far safer choice for natural gas bulls.

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the iShares Gold Trust, iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index Fund, and iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund. .

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