By Daniela Pylypczak
The markets took a couple of hard hits last week, as less than cheery news on the homefront and from overseas rocked investors' confidence. After several weeks of anticipation, the Fed finally announced that it will continue its Operation Twist in an effort to prop up the U.S. economy. The news managed to ease some tensions, but lackluster economic data painted an entirely different and rather grim picture of the health of both the U.S. and global economies. While central bankers around the globe continue to fight to stave off further slowdown, Moody's announced its highly-anticipated downgrades of over a dozen global banks, adding to the growing list of investor fears. As the global market struggles to stay in positive territory, there will be plenty of headlines for investors to keep close and cautious eyes on.
1. Market Vectors Germany Small-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:GERJ)
Watch GERJ Because: This fund offers exposure to the small capitalization segment of the German equities markets by investing in small cap stocks either listed in Germany or that generate at least half of their revenue in the country. In terms of sector allocation, the fund is heavily tilted towards industrials, followed by significant allocations to consumer cyclicals, basic materials and real estate. Germany has continued to be a stronghold amidst eurozone debt crisis, and as such GERJ has gained just over 11.7% thus far in 2012. Its focus this week will come on Wednesday when Germany's GDP will be reported, giving a good outlook on the future of the nation's economy.
2. SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY)
Watch SPY Because: This fund seeks to replicate the performance of the S&P 500, which represents the large capitalization sector of the U.S. equity market. SPY is the world's most popular and most heavily-traded ETF, and has accumulated more than $100 billion in assets since its inception. As such, many investors keep a close eye on this fund seeing as its underlying index serves as one of the best barometers of the U.S. economy. Although 2012 has proven to be quite volatile thus far, SPY has managed to gain just over 6.0% on the year. SPY will be an important fund to watch this week as U.S. Durable Good Orders and U.S. Gross Domestic Product is slated to be announced on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
3. MSCI Canada Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWC)
Watch EWC Because: This fund is one of the most popular options for investors wishing to gain exposure to the performance of the Canadian equity market. With over $4 billion in total assets, EWC's appeal as the top Canadian equity ETF among investors continues to grow. Its focus this week will come as Canada's GDP is announced on Friday, providing a good indication of where the country stands financially and economically. Analysts are expecting the nation's GDP to come in slightly higher than the previous recording of 1.6% and, as such, EWC may experience higher levels of activity this week.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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