Market Overview

A Look Ahead: This Week's ETFs to Watch

A Look Ahead: This Week's ETFs to Watch

Market participants cannot look back on the dour performance turned in by U.S. stocks last week. The one where the S&P 500 slumped 2.1 percent and turned not only its worst weekly performance of 2013, but its worst one week slide since November.

Indeed, those statistics must be put in the rear view mirror because the week ahead is chock full of marquee earnings reports and critical economic data points. That means the last week full trading week of April could be a bumpy one as markets inch closer to May, a notoriously glum month for equities.

Among other events to keep an eye on, this is what is on the docket this week: Earnings from downtrodden Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) on Tuesday, earnings from at least seven Dow components throughout the week and the first quarter GDP reading on Friday. With those events and others in mind, here are just a few of the ETFs that will be in play this week.

Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLE)
The Energy Select Sector SPDR had been one of the better performing riskier sector ETFs to start 2013, but the largest energy ETF by assets has wilted in recent weeks. In the past month, XLE has lost 4.6 percent amid plunging oil prices due to elevated concerns about global economic growth. XLE has already fallen below horizontal support at $76 and is now trading a mere 2.3 percent above its 200-day moving average.

This week could easily set the near-term course for XLE and related ETFs. Five the ETF's top-10 holdings, including Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron (NYSE: CVX), step into the earnings confessional. XLE's five top-10 constituents that report this week combine for over 43 percent of the fund's weight.

Traders looking for a short-term hedge on XLE should consider the ProShares UltraShort Oil & Gas (NYSE: DUG). DUG gained nearly five percent last week.

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX)
Admittedly, it feels like one of the gold mining ETFs have been making an appearance on this list every week for months now. However, there is good reason to do that again this week. When Monday rolls around, gold will be just one week removed from its worst trading day in three decades and as has been noted, the yellow metal's slide has been terrible news for the miners.

The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF lost about 4.5 percent last week, though it arguably feels like more. GDX is now down almost 26 percent in the past month, though it should be noted some money has been flowing into this ETF.

Traders willing to commit capital to the miners from the long side right now ought to be commended for their fortitude. That fortitude will be put to the test this week as several of GDX's top holdings report earnings. Bad reports combined with more glum action in gold futures will certainly weigh on GDX and rival ETFs.

Market Vectors Biotech ETF (NYSE: BBH)
These are go-go days for biotech stocks and ETFs and there is little reason to believe the good times cannot continue. After all, the catalysts to drive the Market Vectors Biotech ETF and equivalent funds higher are in place this week. Interestingly, those catalysts arrive after BBH and the other major biotech ETFs touched new all-time highs last Friday.

Here is what is on the agenda for biotech this week: Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD), Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN), Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) all report earnings. Those are the "big four" of biotech and they combine for about 46 percent of BBH's weight.

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