A Look Ahead: This Week's ETFs to Watch

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Last week was another strong one for U.S. stocks as the S&P 500 climbed 2.3 percent in what was benchmark index's best performance since the first week of the year.

The SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY ) is now up 8.7 percent year-to-date. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 2.1 percent and both indexes touched new record highs on Thursday before inching lower on Friday.

With another strong week in the books, the catalysts are in place to keep moving stocks higher - or drag them lower - because earnings season is about to bring an avalanche of reports this week.

Of the 30 S&P 500 companies that reported first-quarter results thus far, 70 percent exceeded analysts' profit estimates and 57 percent beat sales projections, according to Bloomberg data .

With 74 S&P 500 constituents due to deliver earnings updates this week, plenty of ETFs will be in play, including the following group.

Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLF )J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) and Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC ) kicked off bank earnings last Friday.

This week, Citigroup (NYSE: C ) gets the ball rolling Monday, followed by Goldman Sachs Tuesday and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) on Wednesday. That trio combines for nearly 14 percent of the Financial Select Sector SPDR's weight.

Two other XLF top-10 holdings, US Bancorp (NYSE: USB ) and American Express (NYSE: AXP ), also report this week along with a broad swath of smaller components in this ETF. All of that is one way of saying that there will be ample opportunities for XLF to climb another one percent to reclaim its 52-week and maybe even break resistance in the $18.90 area.

With all these potential catalysts, the next week or two could represent the last great opportunity XLF has to make a new leg higher before the sell in May and go away crowd comes to town.

Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear Shares (NYSE: DUST ) Over the past few months, either DUST or its bullish cousin, the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NYSE: NUGT ), have made regular appearances on this list. There is good reason to revisit DUST once again this week.

Gold is coming off one its most savage weekly beatings in multiple years last week. Of course, that is not good news for the miners. Just look at the chart of the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX ).

NUGT reverse split earlier this month and the post-split price was about $26 a share. The ETF lost 17.5 percent on volume that was more than quadruple the daily average on Friday to close at $16.71 Friday. Reverse splits rarely work with ETFs and NUGT is proving to be no exception to that rule. DUST remains the best way of play gold miners until further notice.

Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSE: VHT ) Confirming the low-beta nature of this rally, health care names have played an integral part in driving stocks higher this year.

That scenario has certainly reward investors in the Vanguard Health Care ETF, which is up nearly 20 percent year-to-date.

A potentially big week looms for VHT as top-10 holdings Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ), Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT ) and UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH ) all step into the earnings confessional.

That trio represents over 19 percent of VHT's weight. VHT and rival funds such as the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLV ) will be in play starting this week and stretching into the first week of May as this sector's earnings seasons kicks into high gear.

VHT just broke above long-term resistance at $85 and if the reports and guidance are strong from the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ), Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD ), Pfizer (NYSE: PFE ) and others, this is one ETF that should keep trucking higher.

For more on ETFs, click here .

(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , ETFs , Investing Ideas

Referenced Stocks: GDX , SPY , VHT , XLF , XLV

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