Best ETFs In 2013: DBJP, Tesla-Fueled QCLN

May 13, 2013

The latest tally of year-to-date top-10-performing ETFs include Japan, clean energy and biotech funds, to name a few.

 

The First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy ETF (NasdaqGM: QCLN) is challenging the db X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBJP) for first position in a tally of top-performing ETFs year-to-date, with gains of 37.3 percent, and much of that linked to shares of Tesla, the luxury electric sports car maker.

Japan’s yen-weakening policies have been a mega theme in investment markets in recent months, so it’s no surprise that QCLN, a small $36.2 million ETF, has escaped notice until now. QCLN has the distinction of being the alternative energy equities ETF with the highest allocation to Tesla, a 13.4 percent weighting. It’s also one of only a very few ETFs to hold Tesla among its top 10 holdings.

The Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (NYSEArca: GEX) is another Tesla-holding fund, with a 6.3 percent stake, and one that has posted gains of more than 27.6 percent year-to-date, making it No. 8 on IndexUniverse’s latest tally of year-to-date top performers.

As a quick background, Tesla’s (NasdaqGS: TSLA) stock price has risen nearly 40 percent in the past week alone, on the heels of its first-ever profitable quarter, which helped lift year-to-date performance a whopping 128 percent. Compare that with 13.8 percent gains for the S&P 500 over the same period.

The electric car manufacturer behind the Tesla Model S, now ranked as the top-scoring car according to ConsumerReports.org, reported its first quarterly profit last week—a 115 percent increase in income. Revenue hit $562 million in the first quarter from $30 million in the same year-earlier period.

Investors have poured nearly $6 million into QCLN—a sixth of its total current assets—in the past month or so, putting year-to-date net inflows at $15.4 million. Market Vectors’ GEX has attracted a net of nearly $4 million since April 1, according to IndexUniverse data.

Currency-Hedged Japan ETFs Still Shining

Japan-focused DBJP, currently the best-performing ETF year-to-date, has seen gains of 37.99 percent since Jan. 1.

Its counterpart, the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DXJ)—the most popular ETFs so far in 2013 in terms of asset gathering—is not far behind, with gains of 33.4 percent since Jan. 1.

Much has been said about these funds, and their resonance with investors; namely, that they serve up currency-hedged exposure to Japanese equities at a time when aggressive monetary policies in Japan are translating into soaring equities markets and a steep weakening of the yen.

DXJ’s success, in particular, has been so massive it helped WisdomTree’s first-quarter net income jump sevenfold on the year.


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