As important economic news is continually hitting the headlines, its important to think about how these developments are affecting your investments. Let's take a look at how a couple of major indexes and index funds have performed since the beginning of the year to determine if your portfolio has the right balance of risk and return.

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YTD Return

U.S. Dollar

PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish


U.S. Equity

SPDRS S&P 500 Index



PowerShares QQQ


Europe, Australia-Asia

iShares MSCI EAFE Index



United States Oil


Precious Metals

iShares Comex Gold Trust


Fixed Income

iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury (NYSE:IEF)


The Market
The S&P 500 index, as tracked by the SPDRS S&P 500 Index fund, has rose since the beginning of the year. From the beginning of the year to now, the S&P 500 (as well as the DJIA) has at times seen gains of close to 5%. (For a complete guide, check out our Index Investing Tutorial.)

Pullbacks and Producers
Gold futures prices, followed by the iShares Comex Gold Trust fund, have continued to trade at record highs. IAU has recently settled at $16.48.

Technology is currently up compared to the beginning of the year as top PowerShares QQQQ fund holdings like Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), and Qualcomm (Nasdaq:QCOM).

Final Thoughts
The point of this index fund exercise is a reminder to investors to constantly focus on maintaining a diversified portfolio of investments. In addition, investors should also adopt an investment process for rebalancing their holdings by selling a percentage of winning investments and reinvesting those earnings in whatever you deem important or back into the other investments in your portfolio lagging others. (Find out whether these funds can really deliver low-risk returns, read Enhanced Index Funds - Shiny Paper Or Sparkling Gift?)

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Tickers in this Article: SPY, QQQ, UUP, EFA, USO, IAU

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