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Top and Flop ETFs So Far in Q2

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The key issue of the second quarter of 2019 has been the ebb and flow in U.S.-China trade talks and some upbeat U.S. economic data points. Though the United States and China were deemed to have come very close to a trade deal, Trump administration is likely to slam higher tariffs on Chinese imports from today (read: Top ETF Stories of April).

Against this backdrop, below we highlight a few best-and-worst-performing sector ETFs so far this quarter.

Top Sectors


Solar stocks have been on a tear, probably due to the fact that investors bought last year’s dip. Also, there is news that some states, including California, are using solar subsidies to boost the adoption of solar power. There is also the potential for Chinese subsidies.Higher oil prices are also lending a hand to the solar stock rally. Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) has gained 11.2% so far this quarter (read: 6 Top ETFs of April).


Rising demand for cutting-edge technology, including cloud computing, big data, IoT, wearables, gaming, autonomous cars, VR headsets, drones, virtual reality, AI and machine has also bolstered investors’ sentiments toward this segment (read: Chipmakers on Fire: ETFs & Stocks Soaring to New Highs).

Though renewed U.S.-China trade tensions dented the space in May, semiconductor ETFs like SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF (XSD - Free Report) and iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (SOXX - Free Report) have shed about 7.7% and 7.2%, respectively, so far this quarter. 


The U.S. treasury yield curve had steepened in the middle thanks to some upbeat U.S. economic data points. This steepening of the yield curve worked in favor of the regional banks and boosted net interest rate margin. Though re-escalation of trade tensions weighed on the long-term U.S. treasury yields and hurt these ETFs in May, financial ETFs are still among the top performers.

Invesco KBW Property & Casualty Insurance ETF (KBWP - Free Report) (up 7.7%), Invesco KBW Regional Banking ETF (KBWR - Free Report) (down 7.3%) and iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF (IAT - Free Report) (up 7.2%) are some of the winners.

Flop sectors

Gold Mining

As global markets rallied in April and as the greenback hovered around a one-year high, gold prices suffered in the month. Investors stayed away from gold investments. As mining stocks act as a leveraged play of the underlying metal, gold mining ETF VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) lost about 8.9% in the quarter.


Though trade tensions took a center stage in May and roiled China investing, some China ETFs have been underperforming since the start of the quarter. Global X MSCI China Real Estate ETF (CHIR - Free Report) (down 8.5%),SPDR MSCI China A Shares IMI ETF (down 8.4%) and Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy China ETF (down 8.2%) are some of the ETFs that lost the most in the segment.


Biotech stocks have been under pressure since April probably due to overvaluation concerns. The GenomeWeb Index dropped about 3% in April, recording its first loss for 2019 amid wider losses for biotech stocks.

Invesco Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome ETF (PBE - Free Report) (down 8.1%) and Virtus LifeSci Biotech Products ETF (BBP - Free Report) (down 9.7%) are some of the biggest losers.

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