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5 Best-Performing Sector ETFs of May

Sweta Killa

The month of May has been solid for the U.S. equity stock market, unlike the popular adage “Sell in May and Go Away” despite the rising tension between the United States and China. This is especially true given the reopening of the economy, and progress in drug-treatment and vaccine development for COVID-19.

The easing of coronavirus-induced lockdown restrictions has started to propel demand and is likely to revive economic growth. Large fiscal and monetary stimulus flowing into the economy has added to the strength. The central bank has plenty of ammunition to rescue the economy from a deep slowdown, indicating a potential recovery in the second half of the year. The Fed would expand existing lending programs or start new ones if required.

Notably, the S&P 500 has climbed 4.2% this month. That said, some sector ETFs have outperformed the market. Below we have highlighted five such ETFs that have raked in substantial gains in May and could be better plays if the trend prevails.

Global X Cannabis ETF POTX – Up 24.8%

The cannabis stocks have been on tear following the report that some strains of medical marijuana could be used in fighting coronavirus infections. The research, which was first reported in April and has yet to be peer-reviewed, suggested that medicinal marijuana could block up to 70% of the proteins used by the virus to infect cells. While most of the cannabis ETFs have been rising this month, POTX emerged a winner (read: How Cannabis ETFs Beat S&P 500 Past Month).

This ETF seeks to invest in companies across the cannabis industry and tracks the Cannabis Index. It holds 27 stocks in its basket with Canadian firms accounting for 73.4% of assets while the United States takes 16.4% share. The product has accumulated $12.7 million in its asset base and trades in average daily volume of 22,000 shares. Expense ratio comes in at 0.50%.

Alerian MLP ETF AMLP AMLP – Up 23.7%

Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) represent an attractive investment option for income-focused investors as these pay out substantially all of their income to investors on a regular basis. These have relatively consistent and predictable cash flows, making them safer and less risky than other plays in the broader energy space. In addition to high yields and the potential for capital appreciation, MLPs also have lower volatility and provide diversification benefits to the portfolio. The rise in oil price also bodes well for the sector.

AMLP delivers exposure to the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index, a capped, float-adjusted, capitalization-weighted composite of energy infrastructure MLPs that earn the majority of their cash flow from midstream activities. Holding 22 stocks in its basket, it is concentrated on the top five firms, each accounting for more than 9% share each. AMLP is the most-popular and most-liquid ETF in the MLP space, with AUM of $4.5 billion and average daily volume of 7 million shares. It charges 87 bps in fees per year from investors.

iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF ITB – Up 19.2%

The housing industry seems unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic as demand for homes are surging thanks to the lower mortgage rates and lower home price. With the economy reopening, demand is poised to go even higher, resulting in skyrocketing prices of homebuilders.

This ETF provides exposure to U.S. companies that manufacture residential homes by tracking the Dow Jones U.S. Select Home Construction Index. It holds a basket of 44 stocks with higher concentration on the top three firms and charges 42 bps in annual fees. Homebuilding takes the top spot at 70%, followed by 11.9% in building products and 9.5% in home improvement retail. The product has amassed $1.2 billion in its asset base and trades in heavy volume of around 3.1 million shares a day on average. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a High risk outlook (read: Homebuilding ETFs: Before & After Coronavirus).

WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund WCLD – Up 17.7%

The cloud computing area has been growing exponentially buoyed by stay-at-home orders that have boosted demand for work and entertainment from home. Even if the economy reopens, the trend is likely to continue given the change in consumer behavior. Cloud computing has encouraged video conferencing, gaming, e-commerce, , remote project collaboration, online classes and many other online programs (read: Cloud Computing ETFs to Gain on the New Normal Trends).

This ETF offers exposure to emerging, fast-growing U.S.-listed companies (including ADRs) primarily focused on cloud software and services, and follows the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index. It holds 52 stocks in its basket and charges investors 45 bps in fees per year. The product has amassed $143.1 million in its asset base and trades in average daily volume of 73,000 shares.

Amplify Online Retail ETF IBUY – Up 16.4%

With the rapid change in consumer landscape to a digital, online shopping has surged. According to the latest research by Namogoo, most consumers expect to continue and possibly increase their online shopping once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. About 91% made at least one online purchase in April. In addition, 14% purchased online for the first time, and 56% increased their online spend. IBUY has been the biggest beneficiary of this trend.

This ETF offers global exposure to companies that derive 70% or more revenues from online and virtual retail by tracking the EQM Online Retail Index. The fund comprises 47 stocks and has attracted $367.8 million in its asset base. It charges 65 bps in fees per year and trades in average daily volume of 64,000 shares (read: 4 ETFs to Profit From E-Commerce Sales Boom).

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