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Nine Best ETFs in 2011

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There were 192 U.S.-traded ETFs/ETNs with a positive total return through the year-to-date at the end of October, including about nine ETFs that were up more than 10%, according to equity analyst Tom Graves, CFA, of S&P Capital IQ in a report released Friday. In comparison, 402 had a negative total return, 186 of which were down more than 10%.

Also though the year-to-date, S&P Capital IQ’s MarketScope Advisor (MSA) database shows 163 domestic ETFs/ETNs with positive total returns, while 155 were in negative territory. In comparison, there were only 20 international or global ETFs/ETNS with a total return above 0%, while 234 had a negative return, according to Graves.

Furthermore, among the 275 ETFs/ETNs with a 12-month yield of more than 2%, only about 28% of them had a positive total return, the analyst says.

Among the year’s nine top-performing ETFs, three were in the utilities sector, two in health care, two in financials, one in consumers staples, and one in consumer discretionary.

The largest of the top-ranked ETFs (based on market capitalization), was the Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLU), at $4.6 billion, and the smallest was PowerShares Active U.S. Real Estate Fund (PSR), at $18 million.

Four of the top-performing ETFs had a 12-month trailing yield of at least 3.4%, but two of them had a yield of less than 2%, according to S&P Capital IQ.

Based on S&P Capital IQ Equity Research’s proprietary ETF rankings, two of 2011′s top performing equity ETFs — XLU and iShares Dow Jones U.S. Pharmaceuticals Index Fund (IHE) — currently have an overall ranking of Overweight.

S&P Capital IQ explains that year to date, these two ETFs had positive total returns of 15% and 11% respectively.

The seven other top-performing ETFs in the first 10 months of 2011 include the following ETFs with a Marketweight ranking are: Vanguard Utilities Sector Index Fund (VPU); iShares Dow Jones US Utilities Sector Index Fund (IDU); iShares FTSE NAREIT Residential Plus Capped Index Fund (REZ); PowerShares Dynamic Pharmaceuticals Portfolio (PJP); and First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDex Fund (FXG).

The two Underweights are PowerShares Dynamic Retail Portfolio (PMR) and PSR.