A look ahead: This week's ETFs to watch
Gold miners, Australia and Japan are interesting plays, but the prospect of Fed tapering will be the dominant theme.
By Todd Shriber, The ETF Professor
U.S. stocks started September off on a strong note, but do not be fooled. September, with a proclivity for being unkind to the bulls, usually starts off well. The first week of the month is usually the best in which to own stocks.
Stocks rose last week, even in the face of a disappointing August jobs report and an even more disappointing downward revision to the July number.
The week ahead will not be as eventful as the previous one in terms of scheduled economic data announcements, but with another Federal Reserve meeting barely more than a week away, it is reasonable to expect tapering talk will again be a dominant theme. The Fed has done market participants no favors by creating so much uncertainty regarding tapering. However, one thing is certain: The following ETFs will be in play this week.
Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX)
A familiar friend makes another appearance (Benzinga) on this week's list. GDX and related ETFs have been real dichotomies this year. There was the January through early July plunge and then there has been the subsequent rebound that has seen GDX jump 17% in the past month.
Two issues loom large for GDX this week. First, will be traders deciding whether or not last Friday's jobs numbers were really bad enough to delay Fed tapering. Even if tapering is postponed this month, that is by no means an infinite delay and gold ETFs will again have to face the specter of the Fed paring its bond-buying activities.
Second, GDX faces technical issues. As in an inability to push through resistance at $31.Friday's close around $28 has GDX right in between that resistance and support at $25. That means the smart play is waiting for a bounce off $25 or a breakthrough at $31.
iShares MSCI Australia ETF (EWA)
Easy call here. Australia, perhaps unbeknownst to some Americans, held national elections over the weekend and it looks like conservative Tony Abbott has defeated labor leader Kevin Rudd to be the country's next prime minister.
Despite all the talk of weakness in Australian equities (Benzinga), EWA is up 3.6% in the past month. That could be a sign the ETF and its constituents were pricing in an Abbott victory. Remember, the last time Rudd was in power for a significant length of time, EWA slumped.
Abbott, who by some accounts (ibtimes.com) thinks he is Australia's Ronald Reagan, needs to do his best Reagan impression to really help EWA.
WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ)
It was a weekend chock full of good news for Japan. On Saturday, the country learned it will host the 2020 Summer Olympics. On Sunday, Monday in Asia, the second-quarter GDP reading for the world's third-largest economy was revised up to growth of 3.8% from an initial estimate of growth of 2.6%. These should be favorable catalysts for DXJ, one of 2013's most beloved (Benzinga) and fastest-growing ETFs. DXJ needs to break resistance just over $46 to encourage fresh buying.
For more on ETFs, see Benzinga.
Disclosure: Author is long DXJ.
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