Bearish momentum continued to be a dominant force on Wall Street last week as investors shifted their focus to fiscal cliff woes and eurozone drama. President Obama reinforced his solution for the United States’ deficit reduction, taking a tough stance and drawing an aggressive line on his policies, which include $1.6 trillion in new tax revenues. While some believe that a tax hike is a necessary step that Congress must take, others criticize that the looming rise of taxes and government spending cuts will ultimately push the United States back into a recession. Meanwhile in the eurozone, policymakers agreed to give Greece two more years, until 2016, to pay down its budget deficit and stick with the euro; additionally, finance ministers put off the decision on just exactly how to meet further Greek aid needs until November 20. This holiday-shortened week, investors will once again see a number of economic reports from around the world. Below, we outline three ETFs that should see a fair amount of activity during the week ahead [see also 7 Simple & Cheap ETF Model Portfolio]:
1. MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ)
Why EWJ Will Be in Focus: This fund is designed to measure the performance of the Japanese equity market, and it is home to over $4.1 billion in total assets. It will be important to keep a close eye on EWJ on Tuesday as the Bank of Japan is slated to announce its rate decision. Speculations have been circulating concerning the new Japanese government influencing the Bank of Japan’s decision to lower their benchmark interest rate. Analyst’s expectations are mixed, and should the central bank lower rates below the near-zero rate they already have, EWJ could be in for a volatile trading session [see also 17 ETFs For Day Traders].2. CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust (FXB)
Why FXB Will Be In Focus: FXB measures the exchange rate between the British pound and the U.S. dollar. The fund, despite being nearly six years old, is relatively small, with just $70 million in total assets and an ADV of just under 25,000 for the trailing month. This ETF will be important to watch in the latter half of the week, as Wednesday will see Bank of England minutes. Any plans or commentary from the central bank will likely have a significant impact on the nation’s currency.
3. Market Vectors Retail ETF (RTH)
Why RTH Will Be In Focus: This ETF tracks an index that is comprised of the 25 largest U.S.-listed, publicly-traded retail companies. Top holdings in RTH include Wal-Mart, Amazon, Home Depot, CVS and Costco. Domestic consumer discretionary stocks, and retailers in particular, will come into the spotlight on Wednesday as the latest University of Michigan consumer sentiment data is announced. Investors should also keep a close eye on RTH at the end of the week, as shoppers hit the street for Black Friday [see also How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.