The 10 top performing ETFs year-to-date are not household names. Most of them are leveraged, including five from Direxion, and many invest in oil and gas companies that have benefited from the rebound in oil prices. A couple focus on bank stocks, whose sector is supported by a steeper yield curve and recovering economy.
Year-to-date through Thursday, March 25, the KBW Nasdaq Bank Index (BKX) has gained 23% and the NYMEX crude oil futures contract is up almost 19%. A recovering global economy is supporting both oil and banking stocks, and the latter are also benefiting from a steeper yield curve.
Overall, the top-performing funds are small to medium-sized, with assets ranging from the tens of millions to the hundreds of millions, never approaching $1 billion or more.
Check out the slideshow above for the 10 top performing ETFs this year through Thursday, March 25, based on the ETF Database. Note: the list includes two ETNs, which are exchange-traded notes (ETNs), a type of unsecured debt securities that tracks an underlying index of securities. Both ETNs included in our top 10 list track an index of equity securities — one for big oil stocks, another for big bank stocks.
Also note that the top-performing ETF has gathered several million more dollars in assets since Thursday’s close because of a black swan event: the stoppage of ship traffic through the Suez Canal due to a stuck cargo ship.