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Looking Into Best ETF Performance YTD


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Cinthia Murphy, Managing Editor, ETF.com

So far, 2018 has not been easy on U.S. investors, who’ve been faced with everything from geopolitical concerns to talk of trade wars to inflation fears to volatility. Market returns in this noisy background have been muted, at best.

But in the ETF space, there are some pearls of stellar performance this year that stand out against the market’s biggest strategies, such as the SPDR S&P 500 Trust (SPY). Including ETFs that use leverage or focus on volatility, the list of top-performing strategies is led by a group of VIX-related ETFs, led by the REX VolMAXX Long VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF (VMAX). Year-to-date, VMAX has risen almost 100%.

Top-Performing ETFs Of 2018 (all-encompassing)

Ticker

Fund

YTD Return (%)

VMAX

REX VolMAXX Long VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF

98.28

UVXY 

ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF

88.25

TVIX 

VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN

78.70

VIIX 

VelocityShares Daily Long VIX Short-Term ETN

74.28

VXX

iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN

74.14

VIXY 

ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF

73.69

TVIZ 

VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Medium-Term ETN

50.23

NIB 

iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN

33.30

CHOC 

iPath Pure Beta Cocoa ETN

32.41

USOU 

United States 3x Oil Fund

30.67

VIIZ 

VelocityShares VIX Medium Term ETN

27.89

WTIU 

UBS ETRACS - ProShares Daily 3x Long Crude ETN

27.70

OILU 

ProShares UltraPro 3x Crude Oil ETF

27.21

VXZ 

iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN

26.86

UWT 

VelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil ETN

26.85

VIXM 

ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF

26.71

DRV 

Direxion Daily MSCI Real Estate Bear 3x Shares

26.07

EGPT 

VanEck Vectors Egypt Index ETF

20.98

LBJ 

Direxion Daily Latin America Bull 3X Shares

20.11

UCO 

ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil

19.37

Note: Data measures the total return for the year-to-date period through April 10.

Performance among all ETFs, excluding leveraged, inverse and volatility-based funds, tell another story, one in which commodity ETFs are finally having their day in the sun.

Leading the pack is a pair of cocoa funds—with those prices just now coming off 10-year lows. The iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN (NIB) and the iPath Pure Beta Cocoa ETN (CHOC) are each up about 33% year-to-date.

Top-Performing ETFs Of 2018 (excluding leveraged/inverse/volatility)

Ticker

Fund

YTD Return (%)

NIB

iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN

33.30

CHOC

iPath Pure Beta Cocoa ETN

32.41

EGPT 

VanEck Vectors Egypt Index ETF

20.98

CNCR 

Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF

17.34

PSCH 

PowerShares S&P SmallCap Health Care Portfolio

15.44

OIL

iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return ETN

13.61

KSA 

iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia Capped ETF

13.29

VNM

VanEck Vectors Vietnam ETF

12.81

WOOD 

iShares Global Timber & Forestry ETF

12.75

XWEB 

SPDR S&P Internet ETF

12.52

XITK 

SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF

12.10

HACK 

ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF

11.85

BBC

Virtus LifeSci Biotech Clinical Trials ETF

11.82

OLO 

DB Crude Oil Long ETN

11.67

JJG 

iPath Bloomberg Grains Subindex Total Return ETN

11.58

GRU 

Elements MLCX Grains Index-Total Return ETN

11.56

WEAT 

Teucrium Wheat Fund

11.17

IGV 

iShares North American Tech-Software ETF

11.16

DBO 

PowerShares DB Oil Fund

11.13

IBUY 

Amplify Online Retail

11.11

Note: Data measures the total return for the year-to-date period through April 10.

Rewards In Vice

Another interesting pocket of ETFs delivering some good performance is what some would consider the “good times” ETFs, or the so-called vice ETFs, which bet on alcohol, gaming and gambling, tobacco and/or marijuana companies.

These thematic funds are still relatively small, definitely not cheap, but are growing. In the past year, some of them have delivered solid returns, as seen below:

'Good Times' ETFs

Ticker

Fund

Expense Ratio

AUM

Spread %

1 Year Performance

MJ

ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF

0.75%

$322.95

0.26%

-2.98%

PEJ

PowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment Portfolio

0.61%

$118.13

0.25%

8.75%

GAMR

ETFMG Video Game Tech ETF

0.82%

$102.15

0.24%

42.11%

BJK

VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF

0.65%

$50.01

0.51%

24.00%

PBS

PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio

0.61%

$49.34

0.25%

6.81%

WSKY

Spirited Funds/ETFMG Whiskey & Spirits ETF

0.60%

$15.01

1.54%

30.94%

ACT

AdvisorShares Vice ETF

0.75%

$13.83

0.65%

N/A

IEME

iShares Evolved U.S. Media and Entertainment ETF

0.18%

$4.87

0.24%

N/A

Sources: ETF.com, FactSet. Data as of April 11, 2018

Past performance offers no indication of future performance, as we well know. But in a market where SPY is barely shelling out 1% in returns year-to-date, these pockets of performance stand out.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , ETFs , ETPs
Referenced Symbols: SPY , NIB



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