The Top Six: The Best Performing ETFs This Year-to-Date

Jacob Harper |

South KoreaAs we fast approach the end of the second fiscal quarter we thought it’d be a good time to take a closer look at the ETFs that have done exceptionally well this year. We settled on the six biggest YTD gainers, and decided to examine them and dig into why exactly these six have had such exceptional years.

South Korea AlphaDEX Fund (FKO)

YTD Percentage Gain: 636.76
Closing NAV on 6/18/2013: $23.57
The exceptionally gain from this First Trust ETF describes itself as “seek(ing) investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield (before the Fund's fees and expenses) of an equity index called the Defined South Korea Index,” and has holdings in Hyundai, Samsung and several other major South Korean companies. What’s interesting to note is the low volume on this high-performing ETF: its volume averages less than 3,000 a month.

Daily Gold Miners Bear 3x Shares (DUST)

YTD Percentage Gain: 179.34
Closing NAV on 6/18/2013: $94.82
This ETF 300% aims to get results that are “the inverse (or opposite) of the performance of the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index.” Managed by Direxion Funds, this 3x leveraged fund has been quite successful shorting gold investors, which makes sense: the worst-performing ETF this year to date is Daily Gold Miner’s Bull 3x (NUGT), with an -82.50 percent drop this year. Volume has been fairly brisk, averaging 780,891 a day. 

3x Inverse Silver ETN (DSLV)

YTD Percentage Gain: 116.31
Closing NAV on 6/18/2013: $59.90
While Daily Gold Miner’s has found success shorting gold, this VelocityShares-managed commodity ETF has found quite a lot of success shorting silver. VelocityShares deals almost strictly in commodities, and this three times leveraged silver inverse ETF is leading all their funds with big gains derived from being bearish on silver.

Double Short US 10 Year Treasury Features ETN (DSXJ)

YTD Percentage Gain: 96.89
Closing NAV on 6/18/2013: $36.10
This JP Morgan-issued ETF deals in leveraged bonds, maintaining a long position on the medium curve of the US Treasury. Trading on this ETF has been very, very low, averaging just over 400 a day. 

Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares (SOXL)

YTD Percentage Gain: 79.70
Closing NAV on 6/18/2013: $50.75
Like DUST, Daily Semiconductors Bull 3x Shares comes from Direxion Funds. Direxion states that the ETF strives to achieve “300% of the performance of the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index.” And the PHLX – which is comprised of 30 semiconductor companies (including Texas Instruments and Intel) – has had a stellar year. Trading has been very healthy on this ETF, averaging 260,378 shares a day.

Daily Healthcare Bull 3x Shares (CURE)

YTD Percentage Gain: 78.21  
Closing NAV on 6/18/2013: $97.12
Yet another Direxion Funds ETF, Daily Healthcare Bull 3x Shares seeks a 300 percent return over the Healthcare Select Sector index, “a modified market capitalization-based index intended to track the movements of companies that are components of the S&P 500 and are Health Care firms.” Trading has averaged 34,608 shares a day.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
COP ConocoPhillips 42.12 -0.12 -0.28 2,104,402
CTGX Computer Task Group Inc. n/a n/a n/a 0
CVX Chevron Corporation 101.29 0.63 0.63 2,051,197
DSLV VS 3X INV SILVER 25.34 -0.81 -3.10 20,384
E ENI S.p.A. 29.76 -0.14 -0.47 100,154
TOT Total S.A. 48.42 -0.19 -0.39 893,675
XOM Exxon Mobil Corporation 87.03 0.12 0.14 2,756,951


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