With the final day of Q1 2014 in the books, a lot of people are taking a long, hard look at their portfolios to gauge how things look three months into the year. We’re still waiting on the final numbers regarding enrollment in health plans via the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and we’ve already looked at which stocks on the S&P 500 fared the best, but, for those passive-management investors out there, here are the five top-performing ETFs to date for 2014.
We’ll stick to ETFs that are made up of stocks (thus not considering those coffee ETFs that have skyrocketed along with coffee prices as Brazil goes through a drought), passively-managed, and that don’t have alternative structures (like being leveraged or inverse).
Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN)
YTD Gain: 25.67 percent
Well this is bringing on a sense of déjà vu. But the fact of the matter is that solar’s monster year in 2013 has carried over in 2014 in a big way, even as its fellow 2013 top-performers in biotech have started to falter. Solar stocks remain a fixation for many investors, and the tremendous promise contained in green energy has overcome a few stumbles in the last two weeks to take the top spot for the first quarter.
YTD Gain: 25.55 percent
It’s hard to imagine a phrase that more-quickly conjures up images of wild volatility than “emerging market small-cap stocks.” And that perception of volatility isn’t far off, as a big start to 2014 is following a 2013 that was up and down.
Global X Gold Explorers ETF (GLDX)
YTD Gain: 24.36 percent
Tracking the Solactive Global Gold Explorers Index, the ETF is made up of global gold mining companies. Gold went on a run to start the year after bouncing off a support level at $1,200 an ounce at the end of 2013, climbing over 14.5 percent from the start of the year to a peak on March 14. Gold prices have retreated some from that point, falling off about $100 an ounce, and GLDX followed them down after peaking on March 17. Still, the nearly 25 percent gain was good enough to put it among the top-performers year-to-date.
Market Vectors Egypt Index ETF (EGPT)
YTD Gain: 24.09 percent
This might raise some eyebrows, but it’s really part of a lengthy trend that can be traced back to mid-2013. Egypt stocks have been on the rise for some time now. However, that may be coming to an end. Russell Indexes announced plans in early March to change Egypt to frontier status as of June 27, something that could seriously hinder investment in the struggling nation.
Pure Gold Miners ETF (GGGG)
YTD Gain: 19.35 percent
The action on gold prices this year proved a rising tide that raised all ships, making for a big year for gold-mining stocks in the early going.