Dodging all the ills of economy and politics, the S&P 500 index is enjoying the second-largest bull run and added almost $20 trillion to the value of American equities. The index topped the milestone of 2,500 for the first time, surpassing the 266% rise during the 1949-56 run, per Bloomberg (read: S&P 500 Hits 2,500 Mark: How to Trade With ETFs).
The journey of 100 points for the index came in less than four months amid concerns over elevated valuations, geopolitical tension and Washington turmoil. We also cannot ignore the fact that it came in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey & Irma. This suggests strong complacency in the stock market.
In fact, the benchmark has gained nearly 12% this year. Most of these gains were driven by strong corporate earnings, still-low interest rates, and improving health of economies around the world. Additionally, the economy has been on a solid growth path buoyed by an impressive labor market, increase in wages, and higher consumer spending. U.S. GDP expanded 3% year over year in the second quarter, from the previous reading of 2.6%, and represented the fastest pace in more than two years. The unemployment rate has fallen to 4.4% (read: Defensive ETFs to Tackle Weak Job Data, North Korea Tensions).
Consumers also appear more optimistic about the Consumer Confidence Index, as indicated by the Conference Board, as it surged to the second-highest level since late 2000 in August. Moreover, a weaker dollar and a rebound in oil price are adding to the strength.
While there have been winners in every corner of the space, several ETFs have generated more than double the returns of the S&P 500 in the year-to-date time frame. Below, we have presented a bunch of those that will continue to outperform in the coming months given that these have potentially superior weighting methodologies and a solid Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
iShares North American Tech-Software ETF (IGV - Free Report) – Up 35%
This ETF provides exposure to the software segment of the broader U.S. technology space by tracking the S&P North American Technology-Software Index. Holding a basket of 57 securities, the fund charges 48 bps in annual fees and has AUM of $1.1 billion. Volume is good as it exchanges more than 164,000 shares a day. IGV has a Zacks ETF Rank #1.
PowerShares Nasdaq Internet Portfolio (PNQI - Free Report) – Up 34.2%
This fund follows the Nasdaq Internet Index, giving investors’ exposure to the broad Internet industry. It holds about 86 stocks in its basket with AUM of $471.3 million while charging 60 bps in fees per year. Volume is light as it exchanges around 37,000 shares a day on average. The product has a Zacks ETF Rank #1.
PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors Fund (PSI - Free Report) – Up 31.2%
This product follows the Dynamic Semiconductor Intellidex Index and offers exposure to 30 semiconductor firms. It has amassed $291.2 million in its asset base and trades in moderate average volume of around 78,000 shares a day. The product charges 63 bps in fees a year from investors and has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (read: Here's Why Semiconductor ETFs Could Continue Their Rally).
PowerShares Russell Top 200 Pure Growth Portfolio – Up 27.4%
This ETF offers exposure to the growth corner of the broad market by tracking the Russell Top 200 Pure Growth Index. It holds 68 securities in its basket and charges 39 bps in annual fees. The fund has amassed $181.7 million in its asset base but trades in a light volume of 15,000 shares a day on average. PXLG has a Zacks ETF Rank #1.
iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF (IHI - Free Report) – Up 26.9%
The fund provides exposure to U.S. companies that manufacture and distribute medical devices by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Select Medical Equipment Index. In total, the fund holds 51 securities in its basket with AUM of $1.4 billion. It trades in good average daily volume of 125,000 shares and charges 44 bps in fees per year. The fund has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.
iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB - Free Report) – Up 26.6%
This fund provides a pure play to home construction stocks by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Select Home Construction Index. With AUM of $1.5 billion, it holds a basket of 47 stocks while charges 44 bps in annual fees. The product trades in a heavy volume of around 2.7 million shares a day on average and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (read: Hurricane Irma Lifts Construction Stocks & ETFs).
Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT - Free Report) – Up 24.9%
This fund targets the broad technology sector and follows the MSCI US Investable Market Information Technology 25/50 Index. It holds 364 stocks in its basket with AUM of $14.7 billion. VGR is the low choice in the space, charging just 10 bps in annual fees while volume is good at nearly 452,000 shares a day. The product has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.
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