The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- There are roughly 1,400 exchange-traded vehicles on the U.S. exchanges. And yet, only a small fraction of them (about 5%) can lay claim to $1 billion in assets under management. These 70-to-75 influencers often explain the direction of stock, bond, currency and commodity markets. In fact, there have been times when a single asset defines the entire investing landscape.
4. How Slow Is Too Slow? — iShares FTSI China 25 Index ( FXI). There are a wide variety of China ETFs to choose from these days. In fact, I haven’t used FXI for exposure to China in many years. Nevertheless, market-watchers, myself included, still pay attention to the price action of this exchange-traded tracker. The fact that the 50-day crossed beneath the 200-day exponential moving average gives some indication of investor wariness of the economic slowdown on the mainland. 5. The Golden Rule Losing Its Luster? — SPDR Gold Trust ( GLD). In July and August of 2011, stock assets were so volatile, investors began piling into one of their favorite safe havens from the prior decade. The price on GLD rose 27.5% in a matter of weeks! Since then, however, the yellow metal has bounced between $1,600 and $1,800 an ounce; neither gold bugs or gold bears have been able to get an upper hand. Right now, though, GLD may be suffering from the collective hangover of weak emerging market demand, a stable U.S. dollar and the possibility that there will be an end to developed world quantitative easing. You can listen to the ETF Expert Radio Show "LIVE", via podcast or on your iPod. You can follow me on Twitter @ETFexpert.