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5 Best ETF Areas of March

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Wall Street delivered a decent performance in March with the S&P 500 adding 3.1%, the Dow Jones gaining 2.1% and the Nasdaq advancing 1.8%. Dovish Fed comments helped the stock market stay strong last month.

In March, the Federal Reserve decided to keep interest rates unchanged, maintaining the benchmark rate in the range of 5.25-5.50%. No officials see rates going up in 2024. In fact, despite previous expectations of a lesser number of rate cuts due to recently-released hot inflation numbers, the Fed still anticipates the need for three rate cuts in 2024.

The decision to maintain the forecast for three rate cuts in 2024 comes amid concerns over persistently high inflation. However, the Fed’s preferred personal consumption expenditures price index (PCE) excluding food and energy rose 2.8% on a 12-month basis and was up 0.3% sequentially, matching estimates.

Core PCE was up 0.3% for the month and 2.5% at the 12-month rate, compared to estimates for 0.4% and 2.5%, per CNBC. Meanwhile, the latest report on fourth quarter GDP for the year 2023, released last week, revealed that the US economy expanded at a 3.4% rate, up from the previous estimate of 3.2%.

Such data points strengthened the bets for a sooner-than-expected Fed rate cuts. The benchmark U.S. 10-year treasury yield started the month at 4.19%, hit a closing high of 4.34% on Mar 18   and closed the month at 4.20%.

Meanwhile, gold gained last month with the gold bullion ETFSPDR Gold Shares (GLD - Free Report) gaining 8.7%. The reason behind the rally was the rise of the geopolitical risk, be it Hamas & Israel or Russia - Ukraine. The central banks have consistently bought gold. Notably, gold is viewed as a safe haven asset. Dovish Fed comments also went in favor of gold investing.

Against this backdrop, below we highlight a few winning ETF areas of March.


Amplify Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ - Free Report) ) – Up 24.6%

A rescheduling of status seems to be a certainty for marijuana. In a recent White House meeting, Vice President Kamala Harris urged the DEA to expedite the rescheduling of marijuana, criticizing its current Schedule 1 classification as "absurd" and "patently unfair." She put stress on the need for swift action and highlighted ongoing efforts toward rescheduling.

Silver & Gold Mining

iShares MSCI Global Silver and Metals Miners ETF (SLVP - Free Report) ) – Up 24.2%

U.S. Global GO GOLD and Precious Metal Miners ETF (GOAU - Free Report) ) – Up 22.7%

Like gold, silver prices also gained. Silver bullion ETF iShares Silver Trust (SLV - Free Report) was up 9.7% last month. Apart from the safe-haven status, silver also has usage in industrial activities. Notably, mining stocks often act as leveraged plays of the underlying metal. Hence, gold and silver mining ETFs rallied in March.

Crypto Stocks

First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF (CRPT - Free Report) ) – Up 22.9%

The leading cryptocurrency bitcoin has experienced a huge surge last month, fueled by increasing optimism. A forthcoming decrease in the token's supply growth, known as a halving event, is further driving its significant rally.

The First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF aims to offer exposure to firms that, in SkyBridge's view, are at the forefront of innovation related to cryptocurrency, crypto assets, and the digital economy. No wonder, the fund CRPT would gain from the bitcoin’s unstoppable rally, which was up 15.3% last month.

Copper Miners

Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX - Free Report) ) – Up 17.9%

Copper prices surged in March after an agreement by Chinese smelters to cut production as these smelters are responsible for processing half of the global copper supply. The copper market is tightening, with Chinese smelter maintenance set to peak in April and May, which could hurt refined copper production, thereby pushing the price higher.

Oil Services

Range Global Offshore Oil Services Index ETF (OFOS - Free Report) ) – Up 17.0%

Oil prices spiked last month, as evident from the 7.3% jump in WTI crude ETF United States Oil Fund LP (USO - Free Report) .  The rally was buoyed by rising demand forecasts by the International Energy Agency (“IEA”), geopolitical tensions and domestic market dynamics. Brent crude peaked above $86 per barrel for the first time since November, while West Texas Intermediate touched a level of $83.

This has boosted the broader energy ETFs including OFOS. The underlying Range Global Offshore Oil Services Index tracks the performance of companies that are involved in the offshore oil services ecosystem, which refers to the complex system relating to the various stages of production, exploration, development, transportation, and distribution of offshore oil.

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