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 Silver Trust ( SLV) 6.8% Silver prices are gaining ground as investors return from the holiday weekend in a buying mood. Tuesday's jump has helped SLV recover the losses suffered during the rocky final trading days of 2011. The market's strength is pushing other precious metal-linked ETFs to impressive gains as well. ETFS Physical Palladium Shares ( PALL), Global X Silver Miners ETF ( SIL) and iShares Gold Trust ( IAU) are all in positive territory. Guggenheim Solar ETF ( TAN) 6.5% After slumping into the final day of 2011 trading, the solar energy-tracking TAN is kicking off the new year on a positive note. Despite this strong start to the year, the outlook for the solar energy industry remains cloudy. Investors should continue to follow TAN and Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF ( KWT) from the sidelines. Market Vectors Steel ETF ( SLX) 5.5% As the markets bound higher, increasingly confident investors are showing a willingness to venture into growth-correlated industries. As a result, resource-focused products like SLX, Global X Copper Miners ETF ( COPX) and Market Vectors Coal ETF ( KOL) can be found topping the winners list. This flight to risk is encouraging. However, investors should avoid being lured from safety entirely. Plenty of hurdles lay ahead.
iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN ( VXX) -4.6% 2012 is off to a rousing start with all three major U.S. indices up over 1.5%. In response to this booming kickoff, the fear-tracking VIX is taking a heavy shot across the bow. VXX has given back all of the gains witnessed last week and is once again testing its 200-day moving average. Although we are now venturing into a new calendar year, many of the factors that plagued the markets in 2011 remain in place. The VIX index will likely continue to be interesting to watch. Utilities Select Sector SPDR ( XLU) -1.8% Reflecting investor disinterest in safe havens, the defensive utilities are standing out as noticeable laggards during afternoon trading. XLU enjoyed a strong run during the tumultuous final weeks of 2011. It will be interesting to see if more of these gains are given back in the days ahead.