A tumultuous end to 2018 didn’t carry over into 2019. So far this year, it’s been smooth sailing for global stocks, as the MSCI ACWI Index surged by 12.3% during the first quarter.
It was the best quarter for the index—which tracks developed and emerging market stocks—since the third quarter of 2010. U.S. stocks, as measured by the S&P 500, did even better, rising 13.6% for their best quarterly showing since 2009’s third quarter.Granted, global stock markets are still off their highs from last year, but investors are no doubt reassured by the fact that equities have climbed so strongly in the face of ongoing concerns about sliding earnings, slowing economic growth, trade wars and Brexit.
Pot On Top
The best showing for global stocks in nearly a decade boded well for exchange-traded funds. Many ETFs registered sizzling gains during the first three months of the year, including four leveraged products that more than doubled.
We’ll get to those later, but first we’ll run down the top-performing ETFs of the year that delivered their gains without using leverage of any kind. Inverse products are also excluded from this list.
Top Performing ETFs Of The Year (excluding leveraged/inverse)
Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through March 29.
Easily taking the No. 1 position is the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ). The only U.S.-listed ETF focused on cannabis stocks, investors holding the fund in Q1 were rewarded with a whopping 46.3% gain.
The marijuana ETF is notoriously volatile. The Q1 surge only puts it back to where it was trading last October.