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Best/Worst Weekly ETF Returns: Solar Shines

Olly Ludwig

ETFs focused on solar energy shined brightly in the past week, as financial markets breathed a collective sigh of relief after U.S. legislators averted, for now, the consequences of a sudden plunge off  the so-called fiscal cliff.

The Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT) and the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) each jumped more than 16 percent in the week ended Jan. 3, while the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (PBW) First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy ETF (QCLN), each rose more than 7 percent.

China-focused ETFs were also all over the past week’s top-performers list as well, with the Global X China Materials ETF (CHIM) and the Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF (HAO) adding 9.19 percent and 7.18 percent, respectively.

The clear relief in markets after Congress avoided the shock of a sudden increase in taxes and an equally abrupt drop in federal spending with a stop-gap agreement fueled pent-up rallies in some of the higher risk, higher beta, pockets of the equities universe. How the market reacts to further rancor in Washington, D.C. is anybody’s guess, but for now the stock market is clearly on a bullish run.

The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 2.2 percent in the Thursday-to-Thursday period of our survey, which included the New Year’s Day market holiday on Jan. 1. The market added 0.33 percent more on Friday, Jan. 4, making the post-"fiscal cliff" rally from Monday, Dec. 31 to Friday, Jan. 4 amount to a more than 4.5 percent move.

As far as the rallying stock market goes, volatility-focused exchange-traded products remain littered all over the worst-performers list and, in a potential sign of things to come, a long-dated Treasurys ETF was among the biggest-losing funds too.

The iPath S'P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) fell more than 16 percent in the five-day period ended Thursday, Jan. 3. VXX was the worst-performing ETP in 2012, losing more than three-quarters of its value.

One wonders if the presence of the PIMCO 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury ETF (ZROZ) isn’t a sign of things to come.

ZROZ, the very best performing ETF in all of 2011 , now finds itself in the No. 10 spot on the bottom dwellers list.

If its performance worsens as 2012 takes shape, that certainly won’t be fun for its owners, but it will probably suggest that the economic recovery is stabilizing and finally morphing into something approximating a bonafide period of steady, if sluggish, economic expansion.

Top 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and '1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
KWT Market Vectors Solar Energy 16.45% 39,894 12.50
TAN Guggenheim Solar 16.43% 495,673 54.69
CHIM Global X China Materials 9.19% 27,195 2.83
CHIX Global X China Financials 9.17% 178,656 7.08
PBW PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy 7.74% 1,273,379 132.74
QCLN First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy 7.29% 21,764 14.62
HAO Guggenheim China Small Cap 7.18% 1,080,593 322.65
REMX Market Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals 7.12% 276,991 180.58
FCA First Trust China AlphaDex 7.08% 19,342 3.83
ECNS iShares MSCI China Small Cap 6.79% 78,495 22.94

Bottom 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and '1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
VXX iPath S'P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN -16.37% 156,762,990 1,004.08
VIIX VelocityShares VIX Short Term ETN -16.37% 2,304,496 15.82
VIXY ProShares VIX Short-Term -16.15% 6,031,322 121.46
GRN iPath Global Carbon ETN -10.82% 2,314 0.90
GAZ iPath Dow Jones-UBS Natural Gas Total Return ETN -8.66% 510,779 33.62
VIXM ProShares VIX Mid-term -8.10% 214,452 32.37
VXZ iPath S'P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN -8.07% 2,249,477 65.45
VIIZ VelocityShares VIX Mid Term ETN -8.07% 40,600 4.76
UNG United States Natural Gas -6.64% 41,400,136 1,200.73
ZROZ PIMCO 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury -5.75% 100,140 95.86

Disclaimer:All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

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