With 2013 nearly half complete, now is a good time to look at
this year's top-performing
to see what has worked, what might keep working and which funds
could be vulnerable to second-half pullbacks. Before getting to
the good stuff, some housekeeping is in order.
First, 10 ETFs that will be highlighted are all plain vanilla,
non-leveraged funds. Second, the list and performance data come
, which features the 10 best an 10 worst non-leveraged funds on
the front page of its web site.
Health Care Rules An investment in the Health Care Select
Sector SPDR (NYSE:
) has paid off this year as that ETF has surged more than 20
percent. However, XLV's performance pales in comparison to what
biotech ETFs have delivered. Interestingly, one so-called expert
labeled biotech ETFs as "dangerous" in February while touting the
virtues of Amgen (NASDAQ:
That was not the best of calls because
biotech ETFs big and small have been stellar
performers this year
. Lead by the Market Vectors Biotech (NYSE:
), an ETF that coincidentally allocates 13 percent of its weight
to Amgen, three biotech ETFs are found among the top-10
year-to-date performers. BBH is in the seventh spot while the
iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index Fund (NASDAQ:
) is number eight.
Rounding out the top-10 is the PowerShares Dynamic Biotech
& Genome ETF (NYSE:
which received some praise in April
The average return for that trio is over 27 percent, but the
best-performing health care to this point in 2013 is the SPDR
S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF (NYSE:
), which is up almost 29 percent. Noteworthy about XPH is that
the ETF's 29 holdings have a median market cap of just over $4
billion, proving the fund is not heavy on large-cap, blue-chip
pharmaceuticals names such as Merck (NYSE:
) and Pfizer (NYSE:
A Musk-y Scent The four best non-leveraged ETFs on a
year-to-date basis have average returns of 42.3 percent and that
group is led by the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE:
), which is up nearly 59 percent. The quartet has a couple of
things in common.
First, all four are alternative energy funds with the Market
Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (NYSE:
), Market Vectors Solar ETF (NYSE:
) and the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (NYSE:
) rounding out the group.
Second, three of those ETFs feature exposure to
at least on Elon Musk stock
, either SolarCity (NASDAQ:
) or Tesla (NASDAQ:
). KWT is the exception, but PBW holds both of those stocks to
the tune of an almost 10 percent combined weight.
And do not forget that the iShares S&P Global Clean Energy
Index Fund (NASDAQ:
) is in the ninth spot on the top-10 list. Although ICLN has no
Elon Musk exposure, it is up 26.6 percent year-to-date.
Small, So What? Folks just keep on picking on small ETFs with
no empirical evidence to support their assertions although it
it has already been proven
that those assertions are usually misguided.
The top-10 ETFs prove as much. Only one, IBB, has over $1
billion in assets under management. TAN, the best performer, has
just $110 million. The Guggenheim Spin-Off (NYSE:
), the one member of the top-10 crew that we have not
highlighted, has less than $190 million in assets despite a
lengthy track record of outperforming the S&P 500 by wide
Of the three Market Vectors ETFs on the list, only BBH has
more than $100 million in assets. KWT has just $15 million in
AUM. PBW has a decent $173.5 million, but ICLN has just $36.2
according to iShares data
XPH and PBE combine for about $600 million in AUM.
For more on ETFs, click
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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