Dion's Thursday ETF Winners and Losers

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.

Winners

SPDR S&P Biotech ETF ( XBI) 4.3%

The markets are seeing strength as we approach the end of the first week of 2012 trading. One industry that is leading the march higher is biotechnology.

Although a number of top holdings are seeing impressive strength during early afternoon trading, it is Dendreon ( DNDN) that has taken the lead. Thanks to a strong sales report, shares of the closely-watched firm have witnessed nearly 40% gains.

SPDR S&P Homebuilder ETF ( XHB) 2.6%

Homebuilders are enjoying some strength, pushing XHB and the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund ( ITB) to their third consecutive days of gains.

With this upward action, XHB has recovered back to levels seen in early July prior to its steep sell-off.

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

The U.S. dollar is falling back into favor as investors seek safety from the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis. Meanwhile, the euro is taking a heavy hit. Shares of the CurrencyShares Euro Trust ( FXE) are off over 1% as we head towards the close. This decline has pushed the fund below its prior 2011 lows.

Losers

iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund ( EWI) -4.7%

For a second day, vulnerable European marketplaces are taking beatings as European debt concerns command investor attention. EWI and iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund ( EWP) can be found in solid negative territory.

Developed Europe is not the only part of the continent that is struggling, however. The more than 2% losses seen from iShares MSCI Poland Investable Market Index Fund ( EPOL) indicate that the emerging Eastern countries is also being shunned.

Teucrium Corn ETF ( CORN) -1.9%

The strong U.S. dollar is weighing on agriculture commodity prices and pushing funds like CORN and PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund ( DBA) to standout losses. This marks the second consecutive day of losses for both of these products.

Thanks to a late-December rally, shares of CORN have managed to recover a good chunk of its November losses. As we approach the weekend, the fund is trading back above its 50-day moving average for the first time since mid-September.

Market Vectors Vietnam ETF ( VNM) -1.8%

It has been a rough couple of days for the Vietnamese market-tracking ETF. The fund, which has stuck to a persistent downward path for months, is currently in the process of carving out new all-time lows.

With global turmoil still driving market sentiment, volatile nations like Vietnam will likely remain shaky.

All prices as of 2:13 PM EST

Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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

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