A Look Ahead: This Week's ETFs to Watch
The S&P 500 slid to just its second weekly loss of 2013 last week due in large part to Cyprus roiling global equity markets. Last week started with investors pensive that Cyprus, a nation of just 1.1 million citizens, could be teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and departure from the eurozone after the Cypriot parliament rejected a controversial bank deposit levy plan.
On Friday, Cyprus helped investors head into the weekend feeling a bit more calm after the country said it is close to a deal to secure billions in much-needed bailout assistance from the European Union. Of course, and anyone that has even casually followed the eurozone crisis knows this, things can turn on a dime in Europe.
That means although this is a holiday shortened week, it could be an eventful one, particularly with Cyprus still looming large and data points including orders for durable goods orders and pending home sales for February along the final reading of fourth-quarter GDP. These ETFs should be among those in play in the week ahead.
First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (NYSE: FCG)
Natural gas futures topped $4 last week for the first time since November and due to the expectation that winter weather will persist in some cold-climate states for the next several weeks, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said natural gas storage levels could be significantly below where they were at this time last year.
Dry gas names, or those that are not heavily concentrated on liquefied natural gas production, have performed well as of late. That roster includes plenty of FCG holdings including Range Resources (NYSE: RRC), Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN), Cimarex Energy (NYSE: XEC) and Ultra Petroleum (NYSE: UPL).
Technical analysts will be focused on FCG's ability to break resistance at $17.75. Should that happen, the ETF could run another 10 percent.
Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSE: RSX)
Since there is no Cyprus-specific ETF available for traders to toy with while the island nation is in the headlines, Russia ETFs such as RSX will have to do. The reason is because Cyprus has been a favorite destination for Russian oligarchs to deposit their cash in an effort to dodge Russian taxes. Thing is when there is speculation that Cyprus may tax deposits, that plan becomes a karmic comedy.
Believe it or not, RSX closed down by just 0.64 percent last week with most of the damage coming on Monday and Tuesday. Again, there is no Cyprus ETF to dance with, but RSX is by far the most heavily traded Russia ETF and it has already shown plenty of sensitivity to Cypriot news.
PowerShares QQQ (NASDAQ: QQQ)
Some company called Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) enjoyed one of its better weeks in recent memory last week, jumping 4.2 percent. As the chart indicates, Apple could be poised for a breakout. The stock closed above its 50-day moving average on Friday for the first time since October and an Apple rally could be just the excuse the bulls need to keep the broader market rally going.
As for QQQ, it is worth noting the Nasdaq 100 tracking ETF is up just over two percent this year while shares of Apple are nearly down 16 percent. The more positive way of looking at that is if Apple turns around, that would certainly help QQQ, which has held up well in the face of Apple adversity. After all, Apple is still QQQ's largest holding with a weight of 13.3 percent.
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