Weekly Returns: Uranium ETF On Fire

February 28, 2014

News of a reboot in Japanese nuclear reactors sent one uranium ETF to double-digit gains.

The Global X Uranium ETF (URA | C-93) rallied nearly 12 percent in the past week following news of a reboot in Japanese nuclear reactors after the March 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant that resulted in the evacuation of some 300,000 people in the area.

The rebooting of Japanese power plants is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to add nuclear power back into Japan’s energy grid after he took office in late 2012. The move could help alleviate Japan’s record-high trade deficit by trimming the country’s need to rely on imported fossil fuels.

Japanese exports rose 9.5 percent to $5.25 trillion yen in January, but imports also rose to the tune of 25 percent to 8.04 trillion yen, a record amount. The figures meant Japan’s trade balance deficit hit 2.79 trillion yen ($27.30 billion), according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance.

URA’s 11.8 percent return amounted to last week’s strongest ETF performance. Behind it were a pair of biotech ETFs, including the First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology (FBT | B-22) and the SPDR S&P Biotech (XBI | A-42), which gained 8.7 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively.

These gains came as the S&P 500 edged higher to 1,854.29 from 1,847.61 the previous week, based in part on Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen’s congressional testimony that weather played a role in recent weak housing and manufacturing data.

Top 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
URA Global X Uranium 11.82% 2,473,783 208.27
FBT First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology 8.65% 1,051,638 1,276.28
XBI SPDR S&P Biotech 8.27% 2,335,912 1,527.32
TAN Guggenheim Solar 6.69% 3,695,685 518.80
QCLN First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy 6.47% 1,204,024 174.01
KWT Market Vectors Solar Energy 6.37% 48,512 27.08
ITB iShares U.S. Home Construction 5.97% 27,041,599 1,830.97
GEX Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy 5.71% 82,499 105.42
XHB SPDR S&P Homebuilders 5.28% 28,782,873 2,243.92
PSCD PowerShares S&P SmallCap Consumer Discretionary 5.11% 63,175 116.11

Bottom 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
UNG United States Natural Gas -8.28% 131,814,174 813.60
GAZ iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Total Return ETN -7.62% 747,112 35.88
ASHR db X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares -6.98% 1,032,759 165.02
PEK Market Vectors ChinaAMC A-Share -6.93% 91,935 28.12
GRN iPath Global Carbon ETN -6.86% 221,298 2.09
NAGS Teucrium Natural Gas -5.78% 19,785 2.02
UNL United States 12 Month Natural Gas -5.50% 129,496 22.00
CHNA PowerShares China A-Share -5.49% 1,138 2.19
DCNG iPath Pure Beta Seasonal Natural Gas ETN -4.90% 1,286 7.80
TUR iShares MSCI Turkey -4.61% 2,634,388 503.76

Disclaimer: All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

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