TAN leads performance by a landslide year-to-date, but the nine other funds that follow are impressive in their own right.
If you consulted an ETF crystal ball at the end of December, what would it have told you to buy? Gold, a safe haven from never-ending quantitative easing? Or perhaps bonds, hedging ankle-high rates with a bet on the yield curve? Maybe that ball would have shown you corn, wheat and coffee, promising a high return from the commodities futures curve.
Of course, that crystal ball doesn’t exist, and although some call hindsight 20/20, calling the best-performing ETFs so far this year doesn’t seem like something you could have predicted when the ball dropped at midnight last New Year’s Eve.
That said, 2013’s 10 best so far, excluding leveraged and inverse funds, is an awe-inspiring list.
Solar, You’re No. 1
Thanks to the Obama administration and the Environmental Protection Agency crackdown over the past year, alternative energy investments have taken broad strides ahead of their peers, and the Guggenheim Solar fund (TAN | B-33) has had the quickest pace, to date.
TAN has skyrocketed 152.47 percent year-to-date, making headlines along the way; at the end of September, it boasted the title “2013’s Hottest ETF,” having nearly ticked up to that 100 percent year-to-date performance bracket, at 99.23 percent.
Now, TAN boldly peaked where no solar fund has risen before, raking in $153 million along the way, doubling its assets. It currently holds $315 million.
Jogging up to the finish line for year-to-date performers just a few steps behind TAN is its sibling solar ETF, the Market Vectors Solar Energy (KWT | C-30), which has ramped up performance by 102.16 percent since Dec. 31, 2012.
The First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge Green Energy fund (QCLN | B-22) spiked 88.45 percent, rolling in at third place, and the fourth, fifth and sixth contenders for the year’s best were also clean energy funds:
- Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy (GEX | B-22) jumped 73.19 percent
- PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW | B-16) added 68.15 percent
- First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy (FAN | C-17) grew 62.79 percent
“The demand for solar globally has been extremely strong,” this year, said Paul Baiocchi, senior ETF specialist, in a recent podcast with Yorba Media.