The ETF surged 24% on expectations of higher demand for energy and metals. Besides the Brazil exchange traded fund, seven industrial metals-related funds and two coal funds ranked at the top of the performance charts.
The iPath Dow Jones-UBS Platinum Subindex Total Return ETN (PGM) was the second-best performer in the fourth quarter, also up 24%. Spot platinum finished the year at $1,465.50 an ounce, up 13%.
Platinum is a precious metal with industrial uses priced in dollars per ounce, but the rally has extended to metals priced by the ton. For the quarter, copper and aluminum each rose 19%. That said, the PowerShares DB Base Metals Long ETN (BDG) climbed 23%.The two coal funds, Market Vectors - Coal ETF (KOL) and PowerShares Global Coal Portfolio (PKOL), made the list with returns of 20% and 18%, respectively. As coal provides about half of U.S. electricity generation, the bitterly cold weather in the Midwest and Northeast during the past three weeks has boosted demand. Top coal players include Massey Energy (MEE), Consol Energy (CNX) and Peabody Energy (BTU). Another holding, Patriot Coal (PCX), is an important bellwether as it received approvals from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to proceed with mountaintop mining at the Hobet 45 mine in West Virginia. That signals that the Obama administration won't block coal mining but instead require companies to spend heavily on environmental protections. The extra costs were sufficient to elicit grumbling from Patriot Coal management. After the bruising fight for health-care reform in Congress, the likelihood of stricter energy legislation during an election year was diminished.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV