ETF Watchlist: Week Of July 10, 2017

Friday’s market rally following a strong jobs report pushed the major indices back into the green for week and kicked off a solid start to Q3. The Dow, Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were all up marginally, but the real market action is set to kick off later this week as earnings season is back!

We get some lesser reports earlier in the week before the big bank results arrive on Friday. Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and PNC Bank (PNC) all report and will set the tone for the rest of the quarter. Citigroup and JPMorgan have delivered double digit returns for investors thus far in 2017 but Wells has only gained 2%. Keep an eye on balance sheet health for these companies and outlooks on the interest rate environment.

With relatively little on the economic calendar, Wall Street may again turn to Washington for direction. With Congress back from recess, we should get a fresh set of news on healthcare, Russia, the G20 summit and North Korea. Thus far, the market has reacted pretty tepidly to all news on these fronts, but we’re always just one event away from things picking up again.

I expect another relatively quiet week in the markets, but here are four ETFs that I think still warrant keeping an eye on.

iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (ITA)

As you’ve probably already heard, North Korea has been test firing its missiles. A lot of them. It now appears that they’ve got a missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon and reaching the coast of Alaska. The U.S. along with China, South Korea and other concerned nations are threatening retaliation in order to settle down tensions.

For better or worse, defense stocks tend to rally around news like this. The iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF is the biggest in the space and is already up 15% year-to-date.

Others: SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (XAR), PowerShares Aerospace & Defense ETF (PPA)

VanEck Vectors Steel ETF (SLX)

In another case of Washington leaking into the markets, President Trump this past week threatened to slap significant tariffs on foreign steel imports. It’s an idea that’s been largely criticized by government officials and could be received especially poorly by global trade partners. The decision could also be coming at a time when fallout from the G20 summit, one in which Trump reiterated his protectionist policies and refused a second chance to comply with the Paris climate accord, is still fresh in people’s minds. George W. Bush attempted to impose steel tariffs during his presidency and it didn’t end well.

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Disclosure: None. 

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