The largest exchange traded fund following natural gas futures was the top gainer in ETFs this week with a 9% rally, stirring hopes that the recovery in natural gas prices is real.
Natural Gas . The U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed a smaller-than-expected increase in natural gas inventories, stoking a rally in natural gas futures that have languished near a decade low. [Natural Gas ETF Clears 50-Day Average; First Time Since July 2011]
“All told, yesterday’s report strikes as bullish for the natty contract in the short to medium term,” Stephen Schork, editor of The Schork Report, said in an energy newsletter.
Other top performers of the week include biotech and Treasuries.
Biotech . With ETFs, investors can gain a broad overview of the overall sector.
“I don’t want to be scattershot, covering every company I can. I really want to make sure I understand a field,” Rachel McMinn, the No. 1-ranked biotech analyst, said in a Wall Street Journal article.
McMinn is bullish on the industry’s 2012 prospects and believes that an influx of generalist investors will help boost the overall sector.
Treasuries . With concerns of Greece exiting the euro hitting the market, investors found solace in U.S. Treasuries.
“Today there is a flight to safety; Greece is not resolved, Spain is not resolved … and JPMorgan adds a bit of concern simply because they were assumed to be the well-run bank, and if this sort of thing could happen there, where else could it happen?” Lou Brien, market strategist with DRW Trading, said in a Reuters report.
On the downside, cotton, precious metals and miners were the steepest decliners this week.
Cotton . Cotton prices continued to dip Friday, hitting a near two-year low as speculators keep the pressure on. Traders were selling after the U.S. Agriculture Department projected a 2012/13 world cotton ending stocks at a record 73.75 million bales, or up 10% from 2011/12.
“This market’s going to be on the defensive for a long time,” Mike Stevens, an independent cotton analyst, said in a Reuters article.
Palladium . Declining to a 5-month low, palladium prices are following precious metals lower as physical demand diminishes. [The Outlook for Palladium, Platinum ETFs]
“After some sizeable price declines, we can’t help thinking that both platinum and palladium look like good value here,” UBS said in a research note. “From the year’s high of $1,737, platinum has already given back $245, while palladium has shed 15 percent from its high of $726.”
Precious Metals Miners . While gold miners experienced some hefty trading volumes on Wednesday, miners continue to follow the drop in precious metals prices. [Gold ETFs See Nearly 4% Weekly Loss, Break Long-Term Trend Line]
- Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ - News) : down 7.8% over the last week.
- Global X Silver Miners ETF (SIL - News) : down 7.2% over the last week.
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Max Chen contributed to this article.