The funds typically track futures on West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or Brent crude oil. The largest of the funds, the $1.7 billion United States Oil Fund (USO) uses a vanilla front-month roll strategy, while others like the $8 million DB Crude Oil Long ETN (OLO) use optimized rolling strategies to minimize contango or maximize backwardation.
In the current environment, with oil prices surging and the futures curve in backwardation, both strategies have paid off handsomely.
With WTI trading at $75 and Brent trading at $85, bets are growing that at least one of the benchmarks could challenge triple-digit levels in the not-to-distant future as tumbling Iranian and Venezuela production meets strong demand growth.
Health Care ETFs Cruising
Outside of tech and oil ETPs, the third group to register multiple entries on the top-performers list is health care. The Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF (PSCH), the SPDR S&P Health Care Equipment ETF (XHE) and the ARK Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector ETF (ARKG) are three of the five health care ETFs to make the cut.
The $339 million ARKG is the only actively managed fund among the five. It aims to hold stocks of companies that incorporate technological and scientific advancements in genomics into their businesses. Top holdings mainly come from the biotech industry.
Adding Leverage/Inverse To The Mix
Up until now, we’ve only discussed ETFs selected from the universe that excludes leveraged/inverse products. Including those creates a much different top-performers list.
Leveraged products tied to oil dominate this all-encompassing list, with the United States 3x Oil Fund (USOU) topping out at No. 1 with a 105% return for the year.
Bearish, leveraged bets on gold miners also paid off. The Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bear 3x Shares (DUST) rallied almost 66% as gold miner stocks tumbled.
For the full list, see the table below:
Top-Performing ETFs Of The Year (all-encompassing)
Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through October 1, 2018.