The last year has been hectic one for stocks, exchange traded funds (ETFs), other securities and the overall market. We can only hope that 2009 will be a lot shinier. Where can we look for some potential surprises – good or bad?

Brett Arends of The Wall Street Journal gives us some areas to keep a close eye on in 2009, for better or for worse.

  • Municipal Bonds: Some are paying as much as three times as much as Treasuries, on a taxable basis; they will either be a gold mine or a huge money pit. Take a look at the iShares S&P California Municipal Bond Fund (CMF), which has crossed both its 50- and 200-day moving averages.

  • GAP (GPS) is a cheap retailer with a solid balance sheet, it is trading around six times cash flow and yielding 2.6%.  Perhaps take a look at Retail HLDRs (RTH) if you’d like exposure. GPS is 2.6%, and it has crossed its 50-day moving average. 

  • Long Treasury: Many investors have rushed into treasuries for their safety, but a 30-year yields a measly 2.63%; everything but Depression-style deflation will hurt these bonds. Keep an eye on the Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF (EDV), which is above its 50- and 200-day moving averages.

  • Precious Metals: Governments are borrowing and printing money like crazy, which is terrible for paper money and great for precious metals. Take a look at silver, a bit cheaper than gold, more specifically, the iShares Silver Trust (SLV), which has crossed over its 50-day moving average.