June, the second quarter and the first half of 2013 are now in the books and while sixth month of the year was nothing to write home about for riskier assets, it cannot be forgotten that the first half of 2013 was the best first six months run for U.S. stocks since 1999.
The S&P 500 fell 1.5 percent in June and now July is here, a month with a checkered track record. Over the past 63 Julys, the S&P 500 is up 36 times and down 27. The previous two up performances in July, 2012 and 2009, saw the S&P 500 deliver an average return of 2.5 percent. However, the previous two down Julys, 2011 and 2010, saw an average S&P 500 loss of about 5.5 percent .
For the bulls, we offer up this tidbit courtesy of StockCharts : Over the past 50 years, the S&P 500 has delivered stellar returns for buyers on July 3 that held stocks through the end of the year. Keep that in mind with some of the following ETFs .
iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (NASDAQ: IBB ) Biotechnology, one of this year's top-performing sectors, fell on some hard times in June with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF losing 5.1 percent. However, there may be no better tonic for biotech stocks and ETFs to resume their bullish ways than some mergers and acquisitions speculation.
Investors got just that when Onyx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ONXX ) rebuffed a takeover offer from Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) Friday. Amgen offered $120 a share for Onyx, a 38 percent premium to the latter's Friday closing price and that still was not good enough. The two stocks combine for about 10 percent of IBB's weight and chances are the other credible suitors for Onyx are also among IBB's top holdings.
iShares MSCI All Peru Capped ETF (NYSE: EPU ) EPU, as is the case with nearly every other emerging markets ETF on the block, suffered through a dismal second quarter and June. Many emerging markets funds were at least able to put together decent rebounds last week, but EPU continued to be a laggard, gaining just 1.4 percent while other single-country funds were surging five, six percent and more.
As has been noted, Peru has a precious metals problem and with gold coming off its worst quarter since 1968, EPU is at a crossroads. Either precious metals, including silver of which Peru is the world's largest producer, bounce because of their bargain basement prices or traders continue to pound the metals into submission. Obviously, only one of those scenarios would be good for EPU.
Utilities Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLU )There was plenty of chatter regarding the impact rising interest rates could have on the utilities sector , but when June came to a close, XLU was down just 0.74 percent.
That is the good news . The bad news is that in the 13 Julys dating back to 1999, the first July XLU traded in, the ETF is usually the worst performer of the nine select sector SPDRs ETFs in the seventh month of the year.
For more on ETFs, click here .
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