Given the troubles with Lehman Brothers (LEH), Washington Mutual (WM), Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) this week, things could have been a whole lot uglier than they actually have been for financial exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Some might even end the week slightly higher, if the early morning performance is any indication.

Lehman’s shares are continuing to fall as the investment bank races to find a buyer, reports Joe Bel Bruno for the Associated Press. Confidence about whether Lehman is going to emerge from this crisis as an independent franchise is on the wane. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is adamant that there will be no use of federal funds in whatever deal emerges for Lehman.

How will the week end for these ETFs? Here are the numbers so far:

  • Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF): down 24.6% year-to-date; up 2.2% in the last week
  • ProShares UltraShort Financials (SKF): up 12.8% year-to-date; down 5.5% in the last week
  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services (IYG): down 24.4% year-to-date; up 2.8% in the last week

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.