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This focus of this past week was diverted overseas, as foreign affairs weighed heavily on U.S. equities. One of the biggest stories came out of China when the country hinted that they may raise their rates in an effort to cool off their overheating economy and limit surging inflation. Friday then saw an announcement that Chinese banks would be forced to raise their reserves; news that looks likely to curb loan growth in the country and could be the step before China raises its benchmark rate. Meanwhile, in Europe, traders were spooked in the early part of the week as fears over an Irish debt default plagued markets and sent investor confidence in the common currency into a tailspin. Though many were hopeful that the indebted nation would be able to work out an agreement with the EUI and IMF, concerning a bailout of some kind, it appears that the negotiations are not going over as smoothly as expected, as no official agreement has been reached [see also Is The Ireland ETF Doomed?].
This coming week will be a shortened one for markets, as U.S. exchanges will be closed on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will only be open until 1 p.m. on Friday. Investors are hopeful that this limited trading will help to settle markets, which have been oscillating between sharp gains and losses for sometime. However, a number of data releases as well as the start of the key holiday shopping season looks to put a variety of names in focus despite the likely low trading volume. On tap this week are a few pieces of key government data including the U.S. GDP growth figures as well as durable goods orders. Along with these important figures, several industry bellwethers will announce their earnings from the most recent fiscal quarter -- including John Deere and Hewlett-Packard -- commenting on how these firms have, respectively, stood up in light of the commodity boom and the choppy technology market. Due to this backdrop, we look for the following three ETFs to be in focus during this holiday-shortened week:
HOLDRS Internet Architecture (AMEX: IAH )
Why IAH Will Be in Focus: This HOLDR is comprised of the biggest names in the tech sector, including IBM (NYSE: IBM ) (33.7%), Apple (21.9%), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) (17.9%), Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO ) (10.9%), and Dell (4.7%). This year, IAH has gained nearly 5% while paying out a dividend that tops 1%. Recent weeks have seen reports from two of IAH's biggest holdings, with Cisco losing 16% of their share price as a bleak outlook anchored the entire tech sector. Late last week, however, Dell reported strong earnings, despite the heavy fears that the company would fall prey to the same fate as Cisco. Dell increased its gross margin well above analyst predictions, sending their share price up nearly 4% on the day.
Today will mark the report of another one of IAH's key components; Hewlett-Packard. HP is expected to bring in an EPS of $1.27, with gargantuan revenues of nearly $33 billion. Though HP has either met or surpassed their quarterly estimates for every quarter in the past year, there is still the fear that the company will suffer from the same lack of demand in its outlook that shattered Cisco shares earlier this month. With HP accounting for nearly 20% of IAH, this ETF will be a big mover on the week, as investors anxiously await to see how many other tech bellwethers are forecasting a tumultuous period dead ahead [see also Five Facts About HOLDRS Every ETF Investor Must Know].
Market Vectors-Agribusiness ETF (NYSE: MOO )
Why MOO Will Be in Focus: This ETF follows the DAXglobal Agribusiness Index, which tracks companies worldwide who generate the majority of their revenues from agribusiness. MOO's key holdings include Potash (10.3%), Deere & Company (NYSE: DE ) (7.7%), and Monsanto (7.3%). This fund has returned an impressive 15.2% this year including a recent surge of 38.1% over the past half-year period. MOO will be important to watch this week as one of its key components, Deere & Company, gives its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday. Analysts expect the company to rake in EPS of $0.93 on revenues just over $6 billion. Over the past year, Deer has surpassed all of their analyst expectations, leaving investors hopeful that this positive trend will continue this week. This could be likely given the recent commodity surge which has left a variety of farmers scrambling to plant more crops and boost yields in order to take advantage of this trend. If DE predicts that this can continue into 2011 and offers solid guidance, it could provide a nice pre-Thanksgiving boost to the components of MOO [see also Inside The Corn ETF's Surge].
SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY )
The world's most popular ETF will be brought into the limelight this week, as the U.S. releases one of its most important economic indicators. On Tuesday, the government will release the growth figures for the nation's Gross Domestic Product from the third quarter of 2010. GDP is the gauge of overall output of our economy measured by goods and services. If the GDP figure increases, it points to a strong economy, and tends to strengthen the greenback, but a falling GDP leads to a weak dollar fueled by fears of economic stagnation. Fortunately, analysts predict GDP growth to come in at 2.4%, a solid level and a modest increase from the previous reading of 2.0%. Since SPY tracks the S&P 500, which follows some of America's biggest companies, the fund's performance this week will be directly tied to the GDP results, as markets will react to how the economy has fared over the past quarter given the ongoing turmoil in Europe and lack of job creation back at home [see also Technical Trading Ideas: SPY, VXX, GLD].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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