Category: Chart of the Week

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REITs Hold Up Better Than Stocks

While stocks have faded back to January levels, real estate investment trusts or REITs are still up for the year. The Vanguard REIT ETF (VNQ) is up over 5% in 2011 while the performance of the S&P 500 has been nearly flat.

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Financials Lag a Weak Market

What’s doing worse than the overall stock market? Try financials. Since the beginning of 2011, the S&P 500 is flat having given up the year’s gains in the recent 6-week downturn.

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Silver Bubble Pops

After a dramatic 8 week run-up in silver prices, the bubble burst last week on a sudden strengthening of the dollar. Since March 1, the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) gained nearly 40% before rapidly returning to early March levels in less than a week.

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Oil Services Reach New Highs

Rising oil prices can only be good news for the demand for drilling and other services that support the exploration for new energy sources. That fact is reflected in higher stock prices for oil services companies which have outperformed the broader market in recent months.

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Silver Reaches 31 Year High

Worries about inflation continue to weaken the dollar and send gold and silver to new highs. In today’s trading, the front-month contract for Silver settled up $1.597, or 3.4%, at $46.062 per troy ounce — a 31-year high according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Crisis in Japan

The continuing crisis in Japan caused Japanese equities to fall sharply on Monday and stocks continued their slide on Tuesday. The largest exchange traded fund focused on Japan, the iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ), fell 7% on Monday.

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Oil Strikes Back

Violence in the Middle East has caused oil prices to climb to a 2 1/2 year high. According to the Wall Street Journal, light, sweet crude oil for April delivery settled $2.66, or 2.7%, higher at $99.63 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Growth Worries China Investors

The $8 billion FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI) is down over 9% from a high achieved in early November. That compares to a 6% gain for the S&P 500 over the same time period.

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India Sell-Off

Shares of Indian exchange traded funds closed at a four-month low on Friday as concerns about inflation and interest rates continued to weigh on investors. The WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI) closed at $24.16, down 16% from the most recent high on November 5.

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Gold Takes a Breather

Gold took a sharp move down last week reaching levels not seen since early December. The SPDR S&P Gold ETF (GLD) closed the week at $133.58, down nearly 4% from its high on December 31 before bouncing back slightly in today’s trading.

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