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Top Performing ETF Areas of February

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The equity market usually witnesses cursed seasonality during February.A consensus carried out from 1950 to 2018 shows that the month ended up offering an average return of negative 0.05%, per

But this year, the market remained steady. The S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq Composite added 5.9% to 6.5%. A dovish Fed, signs of improvement in the U.S.-China trade talks and possibility of a delay in Brexit resulted in stronger market performance in February 2019.

Let’s take a look at ETF areas that gained the most.


President Donald Trump announced a delay in the increase of tariffs on about $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, citing “substantial progress” in trade talks with Beijing. With this, the year-long trade dispute between the world’s biggest economies seems to be reaching a conclusion.Chinese stocks recorded their largest one-day gains in more than three years on Feb 25 following the news. 

Most China ETFs had a stellar show in the month, the winners being Global X MSCI China Information Tech ETF CHIK, VanEck Vectors ChinaAMC SME-ChiNext ETF CNXT, VanEck Vectors ChinaAMC CSI 300 ETF PEK, Xtrackers Harvest CSI 500 China A-Shares Small-Cap ETF ASHS and Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF ASHR. These funds have returned in the range of 17% to 22% in the past month (as of Feb 26, 2019) (read: 10 ETF Areas to Gain as Trump Delays Additional Tariffs).


Solar stocks have been on a tear, probably due to the fact that investors bought last year’s dip. Also, there are news that some states, including California, are using solar subsidies to boost more adoption of solar power. California, in fact, mandated all new homes built starting in 2020 to have solar power. Invesco Solar ETF TAN gained about 15.9% in the past month.


Palladium prices have been on the rise of late. The pure-play palladium ETF Aberdeen Standard Phys PalladiumShares ETF PALL is up more than 18% this year (as of Feb 26, 2019). The white metal has more than tripled since January 2016, per Bloomberg. The rally is mainly backed by growing global demand and stagnating supply as well as the latest strike threat in the South African mining industry (read: A Brighter 2019? Palladium or Gold ETFs).


Marijuana stocks seemed to know no bounds this year. In February, the Canadian cannabis firm Tilray Inc. (TLRY - Free Report) announced a deal to acquire the world’s largest hemp food maker Manitoba Harvest for up to C$419 million ($318 million) (read: Tilray's Deal to Buy Hemp Food Maker Bolsters Marijuana ETF).

Overall, the marijuana industry is basically getting attention from a wide array of consumer industries like food, beverage, tobacco and beauty. All these explains the 18% one-month gains in ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF MJ.


China is one of the biggest consumers of materials and metals. As a result, this segment should perk up on a trade deal. No barriers in trade mean more activity in China, which should translate into higher demand for metals and materials. Global X Copper Miners ETF (COPX) was the key gainer, having added about 16% in the past month (read: Why Materials & Mining ETFs Are Riding Higher). 

However, a dovish Fed also favored the safe haven metals like gold bullion and mining ETF. Also, the gold mining space is busy with mergers and acquisitions. All these favored the gold mining ETF GDX (read: Gold Mining ETFs Heat Up on M&A Buzz).

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