After a long wait, this week will kick off earnings season, as investors around the world will be looking to see how the corporate sector has fared over the last three months. Though stock markets have been able to rally for the first quarter of 2012, some are worried that individual companies have not followed suit. Bad news came on Friday, as the number of jobs added was less than expected, despite bringing unemployment down to 8.2%. Markets will be looking to shake off one of the worst weeks in recent memory, and there will be a slew of economic data and earnings releases to keep traders busy. Below, we outline three funds to keep a close eye on as the coming week unfolds [see also The Best (and Worst) Performing Commodities From Q1].
SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC)
Why GXC Will Be In Focus: This ETF focuses its assets on Chinese equities, with top holdings coming from big names like China Mobile and Baidu. The fund has had a relatively strong year, with gains nearing 12%, and hopes to continue that streak amid a busy week. China will be releasing CPI, PPI, and GDP results throughout the week, creating an effective onslaught of three letter acronyms. GDP is arguably the most significant of the three, and that is expected to come in at 1.9% for the quarter versus the previous reading of 2.0%. Look for this fund to be active right out of the gate and finish out the week with heavy volume [see also When Bigger Isn’t Better: Profiling ETF Alternatives To DJP, FXI, GLD].
Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index Fund (IYG)
Why IYG Will Be In Focus: IYG seeks to replicate a benchmark that measures the performance of the financial services industry segment of the U.S. equity market including real estate and general finance. Attention will turn to this fund as the week draws to a close, with its top two holdings, JP Morgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) reporting earnings on Friday. JPM is expected to report EPS of 1.15 and revenues at about $24.5 billion. WFC, on the other hand, is largely expected to detail an EPS of 0.72 and revenues of just over $20 billion [see also Three ETFs Crushed By BAC’s 2011 Freefall].
S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX)
Why VXX Will Be In Focus: After Friday’s unemployment report, S&P 500 futures took a nose dive, meaning that VXX will likely start the week off on a high note. From there, economic data as well as the start of earnings season will keep VXX in the limelight as it has rapidly become one of the most popular trading tools in the ETF space. Despite its massive volume, the fund is down over 49% on the year as the stock market rally has curtailed volatility. But now that Q2 is underway, and things aren’t looking quite as optimistic, VXX may be poised to pop [see also 4 Sector ETFs Up Over 20% YTD].
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.