Despite continued uncertainty over the health of global markets and skyrocketing crude prices, equity markets managed to post relatively strong performances during the last week. These gains were largely the result of broad improvement across the market but especially positive outlooks in the technology, materials, and consumer goods sectors. The few losers over the past week came in the financial and utilities sectors, as banks feared the Fed’s refusal over dividend increases and utility companies continued to sell-off modestly thanks to fears over higher regulation costs in the months and years ahead. Geopolitical concerns remained elevated, as the bombing campaign increased in Libya, pushing oil to new heights on fears of a continued conflict in the North Africa nation. Meanwhile, in Japan, citizens had hoped that the worst of the nuclear disaster was behind them, but new reports suggested that radioactive materials were continuing to leak from the impacted zone and that Tokyo tap water had trace amounts of the materials.
This week looks to be extremely light in terms of important central bank meetings and earnings reports but could be volatile none the less thanks to rising geopolitical concerns around the world and increasing prices for many of the world’s most important commodities. While central banks may not be meeting, a host of data reports from countries around the world regarding unemployment, CPI & PPI figures, and general consumer sentiment could make for heavy trading in the coming week. Below, we profile three ETFs that are likely to be active in trading over the next five days [for more ETF insights, sign up for our free ETF newsletter]:
Global X Brazil Mid Cap ETF (BRAZ)
Why BRAZ Will Be In Focus: Although very few American companies are reporting earnings this week, a number of smaller Brazilian firms are giving their quarterly report, potentiality putting a number of Latin America-specific ETFs in focus. Two such mid-sized companies that fall into this category are CPFL Energy SA (CPL) and Energy Company of Minas Gerais (CIG). Both of these firms are in the Brazil Mid Cap ETF and take up the top two spots in terms of holdings, combining to make up 11.7% of the fund’s total assets. Due to the lack of other key earnings reports or market moving data, these two companies and their reports could make BRAZ experience a volatile week of trading, especially if commodity prices remain uncertain [also see Brazil ETFs: Nine Ways To Play].
PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter USX China Portfolio (PGJ)
Why PGJ Will Be In Focus: Much like their Brazilian counterparts, China will also have a number of companies give their quarterly reports this week. Chief among them is the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (SNP), also known as Sinopec. This company is one of the premier petroleum companies in the nation and was the first Chinese corp to make it on the top ten of the Fortune Global 500 when it hit 7th in 2010. Although SNP makes up just 5.1% of PGJ and is just the fund’s third biggest holding, investors should look for this company to help set the tone for the fund, especially considering the recent developments in Japan and the likely premium that will need to be put on domestic oil production in light of the heightened demand out of the Japanese home islands. Due to this, look for SNP’s guidance to weigh on Chinese oil companies and influence PGJ’s path during the week as well [Beyond FXI: Three Alternatives To The Popular China ETF].
IndexIQ Canada Small Cap ETF (CNDA)
Why CNDA Will Be In Focus: Late into trading on Friday, it was reported that Canada’s Conservative government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, suffered a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons. Opposition parties accuse the Harper administration of lacking transparency and mismananging the economy, approving the measure by a vote of 156-145. As a result, there will be a new election in early May in which Harper will have to defend his position against the Liberals and the New Democrats. Thanks to this reinsertion of political risk, which comes just under three years into Harper’s second term as the most powerful politician in the nation, it could scare off some investors if they fear a shakeup in Canadian politics or the lack of a consensus decision in May. Due to this, we look for CNDA, an ETF that offers “pure play” Canadian exposure through small cap stocks, to be in for a volatile week as new polls and plans are released for the upcoming election [see ETFs For The Forgotten Asset Classes].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing, photo is courtesy of Marcelo-Matarazzo