After market finished relatively flat Monday, despite the news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, major indexes endured a rough day on Tuesday. Perhaps the most notable development of the week is the correction in silver prices; which dropped from nearly $50 per ounce, all the way to the low $40s, creating a particularly volatile period for the investment product. On a more positive note, the U.S. dollar gained ground on foreign currencies, which may be a green light for parts of the economy, but it certainly stopped commodities in their tracks. As we enter the final weeks of earnings season, bellwether performance data has continually shaped global markets, and today will be no exception [see also Lessons From the Leveraged Silver ETF (AGQ)].

Prior to market open, Siemens AG (NYSE: SI) will be reporting their second-quarter earnings for 2011. The German conglomerate employs well over 400,000 people, and operates in over 190 countries worldwide. Though Siemens dabbles in various market sectors, some of its most well-known products include wind turbines, medical devices, and home appliances. In March of this year, the major firm got the green light to re-organize and create a fourth subdivision that will be dedicated to infrastructure and will make its debut later this year [see also Checking in on Six ETFs Touched by Chaos in Greece].

Analysts are expecting a strong quarter from Siemens, as a one-time sale of a minority stake in a nuclear-power venture, worth $2.4 billion, will increase net profits. It is also estimated that the company's sales will see a healthy increase, as numerous business sectors have begun to rebound along with global markets. Overall, net profit is expected to jump 74%, which could translate into a very strong report if all goes according to plan. But even with strong numbers, we have recently seen numerous companies fall on bad guidance, so watch this report carefully to see what Siemens determines for the remainder of its fiscal year.

With this major earnings announcement on tap, today's ETF to watch will be the iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund (NYSE: EWG). This ETF tracks the performance of the German equity market, and Siemens is the top security in the fund, accounting for over 11% of its total assets. So far in 2011, this fund has returned 19% for its shareholders, while paying out a solid dividend yield of 3.8%. Because Siemens makes up such a large portion of this ETF, as well as its wide multitude of business segments, today's earnings report will be especially crucial for this ultra popular European ETF [see EWG's fundamentals here].

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Disclosure: Photo courtesy of Billy Hathorn. No positions at time of writing.

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