After an up and down week, the coming trading days should be relatively calm. Though there will be key economic data releases in a number of countries, this week ahead will have a tameness about it (as far as can be predicted), which may offer markets a well-deserved break from all of the volatility that has been surrounding equities. As we look to the coming trading days, we outline three ETFs for investors to keep an eye on, as they will be relatively active due to a number of events and reports all around the world [see also Doomsday Special: 7 Hard Asset Investments You Can Hold in Your Hand].
MSCI United Kingdom Index Fund (EWU)
Why EWU Will Be In Focus: This ETF tracks equities listed in the United Kingdom and is one of the better-known exchange traded products out there, as evidenced by its $1.4 billion in total assets. Top holdings of the product include HSBC Holdings, Vodafone, and Royal Dutch Shell among a slew of bellwether British firms. But the fund’s focus for the week will not come from any singular holding. Instead, national economic data will bring EWU into the foreground for the next few days. On Wednesday, the U.K. will release its bank minutes which tend to comment on the current and future state of the economy while Friday will see revised GDP figures, setting up EWU for a potentially big week [see also ETFs To Play AAA Europe].
Market Vectors Germany Small-Cap ETF (GERJ)
Why GERJ Will Be In Focus: This is a relatively unique fund given that its exposure is focused on small cap companies listed in Germany, arguably the most prominent economy in Europe. GERJ focuses most of its assets on the industrials and basic materials sectors of the German economy, which is a tilt that many large cap funds do not exhibit. Unfortunately, however, GERJ will be in focus through out the week for all the wrong reasons. Late last week, German President Christian Wulff resigned amid a scandal. The former president noted that “he had lost the trust of the German people, making it impossible to continue in a role that is meant to serve as a moral compass for the nation”. Though this fund seemed to have little reaction to the news on Friday, the coming week could bring more information to light and investors may pull funds for fear of the German economy heading south [see also Coming Soon To An ETF Near You: Finland, Small Cap UK Funds From iShares].
SPDR Homebuilders ETF (XHB)
Why XHB Will Be In Focus: Another in a long line of State Street’s prominent SPDRs, XHB focuses its funds on the homebuilding industry of the United States. The ETF has just under $1.2 billion in total assets and trades hands well over 7 million times daily. The housing market has been a major sticking point for the economy since its crash in 2007 and 2008, a bottom which has yet to recover from. This week will see U.S. existing and new home sales on Wednesday and Friday respectively. These reports will not only have a major impact on XHB, but on markets as a whole, as investors tend to take housing data to heart given its vital role in the Great Recession.
Disclosure: Photo courtesy of Graeme Maclean. No positions at time of writing.