|SPDR Aerospace & Defense||XAR||42.00%|
|iPath Dow Jones-UBS Nickel Total Return ETN||JJN||41.10%|
|WisdomTree Middle East Dividend||GULF||40.13%|
|RBS Global Big Pharma ETN||DRGS||39.46%|
|PowerShares Aerospace & Defense||PPA||38.82%|
|iShares MSCI Spain Capped||EWP||38.09%|
|PowerShares Golden Dragon China||PGJ||37.38%|
|PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals||PJP||35.96%|
|First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy||QCLN||35.93%|
|Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy||GEX||35.80%|
|iPath Pure Beta Nickel ETN||NINI||34.79%|
|Morgan Stanley S&P 500 Oil Hedged ETN||BARL||33.56%|
|SPDR S&P Transportation||XTN||33.41%|
|First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX||FXR||33.34%|
|First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas||FCG||33.11%|
|iShares MSCI Ireland Capped||EIRL||32.45%|
|PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors||PSI||32.11%|
|PowerShares Global Clean Energy||PBD||32.04%|
|Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Value||RPV||31.98%|
|iShares MSCI Italy Capped||EWI||30.79%|
Here's where I'd be more likely to have tread. And, in fact, in the middle of this list you do see EWP, the Spain ETF I did buy. On that list, you also see the similar iShares products covering Ireland and Italy, giving you two-thirds of the PIIGS European recovery play.
The other major themes that play out here are old-school plays in defense, industrials and transportation, as well as more pharma. None of these is a theme I would have personally predicted for the past 12 months, and they're also rather narrow.
But there are two plays here that have been on my radar that I didn't pull the trigger on.
The first is the Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (GEX | C-20). GEX is a super-interesting thematic play on alternative energy. Unlike most of its competition, it's not just looking at solar and wind and supporting industries in those food chains, it's actually looking at how people are changing how they consume energy. So inside, you find healthy slugs of companies like Cree (it makes LEDs) and Tesla (the car manufacturer).
That unique take hits its Fit score in our analytics engine, where we compare it with a pure alt-energy benchmark. But we gave it an "opportunity pick" designation because it's really an intriguing way to play the global energy economy. It's a well-managed fund, and its only major black mark is low liquidity.
Still, I know how to put in a limit order, and I'm kicking myself for having missed the run here.
The second fund that jumps off the page is the PowerShares Golden Dragon China ETF (PGJ | A-21). I've been intrigued by this take on China since I wrote about it nearly a year ago. Back then, it was also on the top of the one-year chart for China exposure, and here it is again.
PGJ only holds U.S.-listed Chinese stocks, which gives it an enormous exposure to technology and consumer cyclical stocks, and a much higher correlation to U.S. markets than any other version of a China play. All three of those tweaks have rewarded it immensely, and I'm definitely kicking myself for not believing in the strategy. Compared with the default play (and our analyst pick) in China, the SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC | B-41), PGJ has absolutely crushed it.
So there you have it, true confessions of failures to pull the trigger, for anyone who thought I was crowing about Spain.
At the time this article was written, the author, sadly, failed to hold or have held a long position in the securities mentioned other than EWP. Contact Dave Nadig at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @DaveNadig.