Week-in-Review: Strength In Silver and Oil, While Biotech Slumps

by: Nick Perry

Nick Perry (Schaeffer's Investment Research) submits: Last week we saw a downside bias as the SPDR Homebuilders (NYSEARCA:XHB) held up while technology-related ETFs were hit hardest. This week we see a less negative skew:

etf performance

Like last week, roughly 60 percent of the funds on my list are lower, but the distribution of the largest moves is balanced. In other words, the symmetry we see here suggests that the "skew" was really in funds posting small losses so I would call this a fairly unbiased week.

At the top of the list we have a mix of technology sub-groups, real estate, and commodities. The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEARCA:SLV) and US Oil Fund (NYSEARCA:USO) topped the action while the Internet HOLDRS (NYSE:HHH) and PowerShares Semiconductors (NYSEARCA:PSI) followed behind. The bottom of the list shows a jumble that could loosely be tied together under the themes of consumer spending and healthcare. Outside those themes we see that housing and transports, two of last week's strongest areas, were also down. The SPDR Homebuilders (XHB) gave back much of the gain from last week, while the iShares DJ Transportation Average (NYSEARCA:IYT) lost all of the progress it made, and then some. The Biotech HOLDRS Trust (NYSEARCA:BBH) was the weakest fund as the group retreats from a recent peak.

Scanning over the charts below shows that silver is starting to push into a short-term overbought condition. (Note - details about the indicators used in these charts can be found at the bottom of this column.) As you can see below, the SLV has stayed in overbought conditions during past uptrends, but I still think it is worth noting as the fund has yet to contend with resistance from December's peak.

etf performance

etf performance

Each chart features the 50-day moving average and a nine-day relative strength index [RSI]. I use the moving average (the green line) as a simple way to gauge trends and the RSI (red line below the price) suggests whether the ETF is overbought or oversold. (More information about using the RSI can be found here.)

Index performance this week:

index performance

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