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August Clocks Monster Gains: 5 ETF Areas Up At Least 20%

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Wall Street recorded a monster rally in August. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq witnessed back-to-back record-setting sessions at the end of the month while the laggard Dow Jones turned positive for the year.

Strengthening hopes of a coronavirus vaccine, an unprecedented slew of stimulus, rock-bottom interest rates and better-than-feared second-quarter earnings (amid coronavirus situation) perked up investors’ sentiments, leading to a spike in stocks.

The S&P 500, the Nasdaq, the Dow Jones and the Russell 2000 added about 8.1%, 11%, 8.2% and 5%, respectively, in the past one month (as of Aug 31, 2020). Against this backdrop, we highlight a few ETF areas that topped the investing world in August (read: Dow Jones Turns Positive for 2020: 7 Stocks Driving ETFs).  

Natural Gas

Natural gas prices gained in August on hot weather forecast. Warmer-than-normal temperatures were forecast in most of the Midwest and east coast in early August, and this has propelled natural gas demand for air conditioning. United States Natural Gas ETF (UNG - Free Report) (up 35.1%) and iPath Series B Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (GAZ - Free Report) (up 27.7%) were the top performers in the segment (read: Natural Gas ETFs Surge on Hot Weather Outlook).


The gaming industry has been booming this year buoyed by the pandemic as people are mostly stuck at home. As a result, spending on video games in the United States skyrocketed to new heights in the second quarter.

Per market researcher NPD, consumers spent $11.6 billion on video game hardware, software and accessories during the second quarter, up 30% year over year and 7% from the first quarter, when spending had hit $10.9 billion. With the impact of the pandemic still strong, sports betting fund Roundhill Sports Betting iGaming ETF (BETZ - Free Report) has added 28.6% in the past month (read: 5 ETFs to Play Record-Breaking U.S. Gaming Sales in Q2).

Clean Energy

A rise in crude oil prices has been noticed lately due to a storm-led decline in output. As oil prices jumped, investors turned to alternative energy thinking that this group could also be a gainer. Plus, the demand for solar panels is rising globally. Tesla’s success has also been aiding the solar ETF. Apart from the United States, Europe and China have been focusing greatly on the clean energy area. All these factors boosted Invesco Solar ETF (TAN - Free Report) (up 27%) and First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy ETF (QCLN - Free Report) (up 22.1%) in August (read: 5 ETFs to Buy at All-Time Highs).


The underlying NYSE FANG+ Index is equal dollar weighted and seeks to provide exposure to a group of highly traded growth stocks of next-generation technology and tech-enabled companies. Since tech stocks have been clear winners amid the coronavirus-led social distancing trend, FANG+ stocks are putting up stellar performances.

Amid a solid rebound in technology stocks, Facebook has reached a new milestone after Apple AAPL and Tesla TSLA. The social media giant surpassed $300 per share for the first time by climbing 8.2% in the Aug 26 trading session.As a result, MicroSectors FANG+ ETN (FNGS - Free Report) jumped 22% in August (read: ETFs to Click as Facebook Tops $300 on E-Commerce Bets).

Consumer Cyclicals

The consumer cyclical sector has been performing well lately on economic reopening hopes. A potential vaccine, a decline in virus-related hospitalizations in worst-hit states like Texas and California, likely recovery in 2021 and better-than-expected earnings drove driving the space. Invesco DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum ETF (PEZ - Free Report) advanced about 21.5% in August (read: 5 Sector ETFs Soaring Halfway Through Q3).

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