Cinthia Murphy, Managing Editor, ETF.com
The best-performing ETFs of the year are a diverse group of funds, each rallying for different reasons in an environment marked by ongoing strong performance in risk assets and an insatiable investor appetite for safety.
On some level, just about everything seems to be working well this year. But in the first half of 2019, here are the top 10 ETF returns—a list that excluded leverage/inverse ETFs as well as exchange-traded notes.
Sources: FactSet, ETF.com; data as of July 1, 2019
Renewable energy ETFs are leading the pack this year. The Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) and the Invesco WilderHill Clean Energy ETF (PBW) have returned as much as 40-51% year to date amid a favorable outlook for solar energy demand, and strong gains in solar-power-related stocks.
Other notable—perhaps surprising—ETFs in this list include Greece- and Argentina-focused funds, which have stood out this year. The former is gaining from a rebound from recent lows, buoyed by economic recovery and growing optimism in that country; the latter is seeing seasonal strength linked to upcoming elections.
Finally, the Ark Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG) is rallying sharply despite the poor performance of the health care sector as a whole. The fund is bucking pressure on health stocks by focusing on companies that are supposed to help shape the sector’s future, including artificial intelligence, and companies on the forefront of clinical trials and diagnostics improvements.
Asset flows into ETF asset classes year to date also shows diverse appetite for both risk and safe assets, as seen below:
Asset Classes (Year to Date)
Net Flows ($, mm)
AUM ($, mm)
% of AUM
U.S. Fixed Income
International Fixed Income
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