This past week was, for the most part, a stellar time for major equities as a number of positive data releases buffered a healthy market rally. The Dow pushed through 12,000 while the S&P is making reaches for the 1,300 mark. Oil was perhaps the most talked about asset, as its price skyrocketed early in the week and held on tight to close Friday around the $93/barrel mark. Likewise, gold saw a meteoric rise, as the precious metal tacked on nearly $100 to its underlying price. The ETF world saw a fair amount of activity, as two new products hit the market while details for others rolled in to keep the exchange traded pipeline chalk-full of potential [see also Crude Oil Guide: Brent Vs. WTI, What’s The Difference?].
With this past week creating strong tailwinds for markets, there will another wave of important data to keep an eye on in the coming days. As such, we outline three important ETFs to watch as the week plays out:
MSCI United Kingdom Index Fund (EWU)
Why EWU Will Be In Focus: This Tuesday will see GDP results from the U.K., as our neighbors across the pond will be hopeful to match the robust growth that our economy mustered up in the third quarter. Last quarter saw a dismal 0.1% GDP growth, but analysts predict that the U.K. will boost that figure to 0.3%. While these are meager gains at best, they are a sign of the economy stepping in the right direction and getting itself back on the path to prosperity. One analyst cited the reason for the gains as “manufacturing and services industries rebounded from disruptions caused by the royal wedding and the Japanese earthquake”. The report will be especially significant given the recent turmoil in Europe and the debt talks concerning the Greek aid package [see also iShares Planning Small Cap Country ETFs].
Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN)
Why TAN Will Be In Focus: Thursday, one of the largest solar firms in the world, First Solar, will be releasing their earnings from their most recent fiscal quarter. Analysts are predicting EPS of $2.64 with revenues just topping $1 billion. First Solar had been on a roll, surpassing their earnings in three straight quarters, until the announcement for last quarter came in; the company missed estimates by as much as 24%. The report will be especially in focus given that CEO Rob Gillette relinquished his position at the head of company last week, causing turmoil for the stock. FSLR is TAN’s top holding, accounting for more than 14.3% of the fund. The ETF, which focuses on the global solar industry, has lost a back-breaking 49% on the year along with most alternative energies who have struggled to find their footing [see also The Ultimate Guide To Solar Power Investing].
S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX)
Why VXX Will Be In Focus: One could argue that as a volatility product, VXX is always in focus, and for the most part you’d be right. But this week will demands a closer look at this fund, as markets are staged to make big moves. On Wednesday, the Fed will release their interest rate decision, which is expected to hold steady at 0.25%. But on top of that, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will address the nation, a key moment for our economy. Typically when Bernanke speaks, markets falter, but with speculation over how the Fed will move forward with the economy, it will be hard to predict what Bernanke will say and how markets will react. With such strong figures across the board last week, it may not matter what the Chairman says, but be advised that VXX tends to be extremely active on and around speeches from the Fed [see also Long-Term Bond ETFs: Stellar Returns In Chaotic Environment].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.