Getting onto a seesaw at a children's park with no one on the other side sends the thrill-seeker's side quickly into the ground while vaulting the other vacant side straight towards the sky. In terms of the global economy, the U.S. is the weight that has dropped and baskets of foreign currencies have moved higher. For investors who are not inclined to become Forex traders, but who still desire to be informed of how foreign currencies have performed the following exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been standouts since the beginning of the year.

CurrencyShares ETFs
Each of the CurrencyShares ETFs is designed as a trust to track the price of the underlying currency (net of trust expenses). Expenses are expected to be paid from the interest earned on the deposited currency. (Learn more on these ETFs, and others, in our Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) tutorial.)

CurrencyShares Swedish Krona Trust ETF (AMES:FXS)
Sweden's inflation rate rose to a 15-year high of 4.3% last month. As oil pushed higher into record territory over the past few weeks Sweden has followed the lead of the European Central Bank by raising its key lending rate to 4.5%. Higher interest rates make the countries currency more appealing since investors can earn a greater rate of return on an investment in that currency. Year-to-date FXS is up 7.5%.

CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust ETF (AMEX:FXF)
Inflation in Switzerland as a result of higher energy costs is putting increasing focus on the Swiss central bank to keep its key interest rates near a 2% ceiling. Swiss officials are also fearful of wage inflation driven by demands from its labor markets. Year-to-Date FXF is up 10%.

PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish (AMEX:UDN)
The US Dollar Index has been trading around a $72 support level since the middle of March. Against climbing oil prices, falling interest rates and the threat of inflation mixed with slowing growth in the U.S., the upward resurgence of the U.S. dollar is uncertain. The UDN ETF rises when the U.S. dollar index sinks, also known as an inverse ETF. Year-to-Date UDN is up nearly 7%.

Conclusion
Chasing performance can be a treacherous game plan. While having an opinion on the direction of currencies is important, no one ever truly knows their future direction 100% of the time. The ETFs mentioned began to outperform the S&P 500 once the market began to fall from its peak in October 2007. Investors must stay aware of a correction in the opposite direction that could cancel these recent gains. The point is for investors to remember there's always a counter-weight no matter how heavy their side of the seesaw.

For further reading, be sure to read An Inside Look At ETF Construction, to help understand how and why this investment product works.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Altria's Return on Equity (ROE) (MO)

    Learn about Altria Group's return on equity (ROE) and analyze net profit margin, asset turnover and financial leverage to determine what is causing its high ROE.
  2. Investing Basics

    Building My Portfolio with BlackRock ETFs and Mutual Funds (ITOT, IXUS)

    Find out how to construct the ideal investment portfolio utilizing BlackRock's tools, resources and its popular low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  3. Investing News

    Icahn's Bet on Cheniere Energy: Should You Follow?

    Investing legend Carl Icahn continues to lose money on Cheniere Energy, but he's increasing his stake. Should you follow his lead?
  4. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Google's Return on Equity (ROE) (GOOGL)

    Learn about Alphabet's return on equity. How has its ROE changed over time, how does it compare to its peers and what factors are driving ROE for the company?
  5. Investing News

    Is Buffett's Bet on Oil Right for You? (XOM, PSX)

    Oil stocks are getting trounced, but Warren Buffett still likes one of them. Should you follow the leader?
  6. Investing

    3 Things About International Investing and Currency

    As world monetary policy continues to diverge rocking bottom on interest rates while the Fed raises them, expect currencies to continue their bumpy ride.
  7. Investing News

    Chipotle Served with Criminal Probe

    Chipotle's beat muted expectations and got a clear bill from the CDC, but it now appears that an investigation into its E.coli breakout has expanded.
  8. Stock Analysis

    Analyzing Sprint Corp's Return on Equity (ROE) (S)

    Learn about Sprint's return on equity. Find out why its ROE is negative and how asset turnover and financial leverage impact ROE relative to Sprint's peers.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Why Alphabet is the Best of the 'FANGs' for 2016

    Alphabet just impressed the street, but is it the best FANG stock?
  10. Investing News

    A 2016 Outlook: What January 2009 Can Teach Us

    January 2009 and January 2016 were similar from an investment standpoint, but from a forward-looking perspective, they were very different.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Should mutual funds be subject to more regulation?

    Mutual funds, when compared to other types of pooled investments such as hedge funds, have very strict regulations. In fact, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Do ETFs pay capital gains?

    Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can generate capital gains that are transferred to shareholders, typically once a year, triggering ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do real estate hedge funds work?

    A hedge fund is a type of investment vehicle and business structure that aggregates capital from multiple investors and invests ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are Vanguard ETFs commission-free?

    While some Vanguard exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are available commission-free from third-party brokers, a large portion ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do Vanguard ETFs require a minimum investment?

    Vanguard completely waives any U.S. dollar minimum amounts to buy its exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and the minimum ETF investment ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Can mutual fund expense ratios be negative?

    Mutual fund expense ratios cannot be negative. An expense ratio is the sum total of all fees charged by an asset management ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center