5 ETFs to watch this week

Keep an eye on funds tracking gambling, materials, energy and housing.

By TheStreet Staff Jul 25, 2011 10:55AM

By Don Dion, TheStreet


Here are five exchange-traded funds to watch this week.


1. Market Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK)


Last week, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) reported earnings, providing investors with insight into its performance over the past quarter and outlook for the gaming industry. The numbers were strong, highlighted by double-digit revenue increases at both its Las Vegas- and Macau-based establishments.


The standout performance seemed to be overshadowed, however, by the bold comments by CEO Steve Wynn in the conference call. When discussion turned to the topic of government, Wynn said, "This administration is the greatest wet blanket to business, progress, and job creation in my lifetime."


Wynn's strong earnings have set a high bar for the gaming industry and looking ahead, it will be interesting to see how other firms from this corner of the consumer sector hold up. This week, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and International Gaming Technology (IGT) will be on tap. Both firms can be found among BJK's top five holdings. Together, they account for over 15% of the fund's assets.


2. Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB)


The materials sector will be a big focus this when DuPont (DD), Dow Chemical (DOW), Praxair (PX), International Paper (IP) and Newmont Mining (NEM) report earnings. Already, earnings season has boded well for XLB components such as Alcoa (AA) and Monsanto (MON).

Although XLB struggled during much of the closing weeks of the second quarter, it appears to have found some footing heading into the second half of the year. There are still looming macro issues for this growth-oriented industry. However, it will be interesting to see if strong earnings results can push the fund back to previous 2011 highs.


3. iShares MSCI Israel Capped Investable Market Index Fund (EIS)


This earnings season will play a major role in directing the performance of the Israel ETF. On Wednesday, both Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) and Nice Systems will step up to the plate. Both companies can be found among EIS' top 10 holdings.


On a number of occasions I have warned investors of the challenges that come with overexposure to top-heavy products. EIS is a prime example of such a fund. Although it is designed to provide investors with expansive exposure to the Israeli marketplace, nearly a quarter of its assets are dedicated to TEVA.


EIS should see a nice boost in the event that TEVA beats analyst expectations. However, in order to protect against weakness, any exposure to this fund should be kept small and focused.


4. iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund (IXC)


Top global energy companies, including Exxon Mobil (XOM), Total (TOT), BP (BP), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), and Chevron (CVX) will report earnings this week.


While there are a slew of ETF products available that allow investors to target the energy sector, ETF investors looking to gain instant exposure to these domestic and international goliaths would be best off using IXC.


It will be important to keep any exposure to this fund contained, however. With regions like the U.S. and EU still struggling to work out their respective debt issues, many remain concerned about the global economic recovery. Since the energy sector performs best during periods of growth, any signs of a slowdown could hinder the fund's upward action.


5. iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction Index Fund (ITB)


Although many will have their sights set on earnings action this week, on the economic front, a number of important data points are slated to be released. On Tuesday, for instance, there will be the new-home sales report, providing insight into the state of the housing industry and home builders.

ITB has struggled throughout most of 2011 as issues continue to plague the residential real estate industry. Since dipping below its 50-day moving average in late February, this level has proven to be a persistent point of resistance.


On the other hand, real estate investment trusts continue to witness strength. The iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund (ICF) has seen a nice run higher and is currently testing previous 2011 highs.


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