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ETF Insider: Does Gold Still Glitter?

Mon, Sep 26, 8:34 AM ET, by Michael Johnston

Stock markets around the globe plunged last week following the Fed’s decision to proceed with “Operation Twist“, which sent waves of fear and panic-selling across every corner of the market. Long-term U.S. Treasury bonds were the only securities that didn’t get slaughtered last week, the S&P 500 shed more than 6% while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index lost over a whopping 11%. Not even gold could escape the chaos as the precious metal surprisingly sank over 7% during one of the “uglier” weeks on Wall Street, settling below $1,700 an ounce for the first time in a while. Investor confidence has further eroded as euro zone debt issues remain unanswered and the drama likely won’t see the happy ending that many are hoping for.

Weekly Outlook

The coming week is quite lacking in major economic releases on the international front, while investors at home will have a bit more data on their plate to digest. Below, we highlight ETFs that may see an increase in trading activity as relevant market data is released and evaluated by investors:

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index Fund (IYR): New home sales data for the month of August is slated to come out on Monday morning, once again putting real estate investments into focus. IYR is one of the most liquid offerings in the Real Estate ETFdb Category and this fund will likely tank further if the figure comes in below the expected 288,000, down from last month’s reading of 298,000.
  • SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT): Investors are going to be paying close attention to the U.S. consumer confidence report on Tuesday morning as the markets look for encouraging data given the recent wave of pessimism. Consumer confidence is a great proxy for consumer spending and XRT may see an increase in volatility and potentially spike higher if the number comes in better than expected and trumps analyst expectations of 46.5.
  • State Street Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA): This ultra-popular fund is bound to see an increase in trading volumes as the U.S. durable goods orders report for the month of August hits the street on Wednesday morning. Analysts are expecting the figure to decline rather significantly down to 1.3%, versus last months reading of 4.1%.
  • iShares Barclays 20 Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT): This safe haven ETF will likely continue its march higher on Thursday if investors panic after the U.S. GDP report is released. Analysts are expecting a modest increase in second quarter gross domestic product, with a forecast of 1.2%, versus the last reading of 1.0%.
  • CurrencyShares Canadian Dollar Trust (FXC): The loonie may see some strength in the currency markets versus the dollar if Canadian GDP surpasses analyst expectations, and U.S. GDP, on Friday morning. Growth is expected to have increased by 2.3% year-over-year, up modestly from the previous reading of 2.0%.

Our conservative recommendation to remain on the sidelines over the past few weeks has proved to be rewarding given all of the market turmoil. Global financial markets remain plagued with pessimism and the recent volatility has undoubtedly pressured even the most experienced of veterans. Many investors are taking this opportunity and going “bargain shopping”, although we’re sticking to our defensive guns and holding off until fundamental economic data truly restores confidence. Below, we have highlighted some technical trading ideas for the upcoming week. Note that most of these recommendations require active management as they are only relevant for a very short period of time. As always, investors of all experience levels are advised to use stop-loss orders and practice disciplined profit taking techniques.

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