Wall Street was in for some choppy trading last week, as investors weighed the continuing fiscal cliff talks and a slew of important economic reports. In Washington, House Speaker John Boehner and six other House Republican leaders sent a letter to Obama calling for $800 billion in revenues through tax reforms and $2.2 trillion in net savings. President Obama responded that the Republican’s counter offer was out of balance, though he did express his continuing optimism for the split Congress to come together on a viable solution. This week, investors will once again see a number of economic reports from around the world. Below, we outline three ETFs that should see a fair amount of activity during the week ahead [see also 7 Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolio]:
1. MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ)
Why EWJ Will Be in Focus: This fund is designed to measure the performance of the Japanese equity market, and it is home to over $4.1 billion in total assets. Top holdings of EWJ include big names like Toyota and Mitsubishi, along with other big name Japanese companies. EWJ will come into focus on Monday as Japan’s GDP is released late Sunday night. Economists are predicting that Japan’s economic growth will inch up to -0.8% in the third quarter from the previous reading of -0.9%. If GDP results do not come in line with expectations, EWJ may be in for a volatile session [see also 17 ETFs For Day Traders].
2. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)
Why GLD Will Be In Focus: This physically-backed ETF offers exposure to the spot price of gold bullion. Gold prices have a history of making big swings whenever the Fed, or Chairman Bernanke, offers insights and economic commentary. As such, GLD could see a surge in trading volumes on Wednesday following the FOMC rate decision and Chairman Bernanke’s press conference. Many investors are expecting the central bank to announce an extension of their bond-buying program into next year.
3. Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH)
Why RTH Will Be In Focus: This ETF tracks an index that is comprised of the 25 largest U.S.-listed, publicly-traded retail companies, a targeted sub-sector of the consumer discretionary space. Top holdings include the behemoth Wal-Mart, online retail giant Amazon and Home Depot. Investors should keep a close eye on RTH on Thursday, as U.S. Advance Retail Sales for the month of November will be reported. The last reading came in at -0.3% for September, and analysts expect this figure to rise to 0.4% for November. [see also How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.