Anticipation was the name of the game last week, as all eyes focused on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his speech at Jackson Hole on Friday. Investors flooded the market prior to the speech, spurring an early morning rally. But after Bernanke indicated that the central bank will not be taking immediate actions, but they are ready to step in should the economy worsen (essentially regurgitating what he has been saying for the past several months), stocks quickly sold off. But, of course, the reaction was short-lived, since now investors are apparently satisfied with another “hint” of QE3. Perhaps this month’s anemic trading was enough motivation for investors to jump back into the markets, regardless of the lack of concrete developments on the macroeconomic front. This week, investors will once again see a number of economic reports around the globe, which will hopefully restore some momentum to the markets. 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 Switzerland Index Fund (EWL)
Why EWL Will Be in Focus: This fund is designed to measure the performance of the Swiss equity market and is home to over $550 million in total assets. Top holdings of EWL include big names like Nestle and UBS, though the fund has a tilt towards the health care sector. EWL will come into focus on Tuesday as Switzerland’s GDP is released. Since the country is not part of the eurozone currency bloc, Switzerland has fared relatively well, but economists are predicting that the nation’s economic growth has slowed down since its previous reading of 2.0%. If GDP results disappoint, EWL may take a hit, but a surprise could make for a lucrative session for this fund [see also Fallacy Of International ETFs].
2. Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLI)
Why XLI Will Be In Focus: This fund is one of the most popular in the world, with over $3 billion in assets and an average daily volume just over 17 million. XLI seeks to replicate the performance of the U.S. industrial sector and will be in focus this week as US ISM Manufacturing are slated to come out on Tuesday. Analysts are predicting a slight rise in manufacturing activity for the month of August, although evidence shows that the industry remains sluggish.
3. Euro Debt Fund (EU)
Why EU Will Be in Focus: This fund offers a way for investors to gain pure play exposure to European debt markets. Currently, EU has a heavy tilt towards debt securities from the “safer” European countries such as Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium. Investors should keep a close eye on EU this week as the eurozone’s gross domestic product is reported on Thursday; analysts expect GDP to remain unchanged from the previously recorded growth rate of -0.2%. Depending on the outcome, EU could experience higher levels of activity [see also ETF Tools Every Investor Needs].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.