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Top ETFs Since the March 2009 Lows

No. 10: Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) +176%

China and Brazil are often held out as examples of the success emerging markets have experienced during the recovery, but it is the ETF that tracks another member of the BRIC bloc -- Russia -- that ranks among the best performers since the markets bottomed.

Russia's resource-intensive economy has surged this year as demand for raw materials around the world has surged. This ETF is heavy on the oil and gas industry (it accounts for more than 40% of assets), as well as iron and steel stocks (which make up another 17%).

No. 9: RevenueShares Financials Sector ETF (RWW) +182%

On the way down, the financial sector was one of the hardest hit. But since bottoming out, this sector has led the way, reclaiming much (but not all) of the ground lost during the recession.

This ETF is made up of the same securities as the S&P Financials Index, but each security in the fund is weighted by revenue instead of market capitalization. This seemingly minor detail has a surprisingly large impact on performance, as RWW has outperformed other financials ETFs by a wide margin over the last year (see a more in-depth analysis of revenue-weighted indices here).

No. 8: iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (TUR) +184%

Investors looking to add international equity exposure to their portfolios generally don't turn toward Turkey, but this Eurasian nation, home to one of the world's youngest populations, has surged over the last year, thanks in large part to to a strong financial sector (financials account for a little more than half of TUR's assets).

TUR hit a rocky patch recently when revelations of a plan to overthrow the Turkish government surfaced.

The plan, which involved blowing up mosques and provoking Greece into shooting down a Turkish plane over the Aegean Sea, was ultimately foiled, but it raised questions about the stability of the Turkish government.

No. 7: Market Vectors Steel Index ETF (SLX) +185%

Steel mills were among the first casualties of the global economic downturn, as users of this raw material cut off purchases and began to reduce inventories. As factories cut back production, SLX lost more than half of its value in a few months.

Bolstered by strong demand from emerging markets (especially China), SLX has surged over the last year, but remains well below prerecession levels. SLX invests in companies engaged in a variety of activities related to steel production, including manufacturing mills, fabrication, and the extraction and reduction of iron ore.

No. 6: HOLDRS Merrill Lynch Regional Bank (RKH): +194%

The presence of another ETF from the Financials Equities ETFdb Category highlights the impressive rebound in this sector over the last year.

Most investors think of regional banks as small financial institutions, but RKH has holdings in a number of household names, including Bank of America (BAC), US Bancorp (USB), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC). Like most HOLDRS, RKH is relatively concentrated; this fund has 17 holdings, and the top three make up nearly 60% of assets.

No. 5: Rydex S&P 500 Pure Value ETF (RPV) +194%

Most of the funds on this list maintain either an international or a targeted sector focus, but RPV is a relatively broad-based fund that focuses on U.S. stocks with low price-to-earnings ratios and high dividend yields. There are a number of ETFs that claim to be tilted toward value or growth equities, but RPV is one of the "pure style" ETFs from Rydex. Whereas most value and growth screens produce a number of stocks that are included in both subindices, the "pure style" funds avoid overlap; none of the stocks found in RPV are also found in the S&P Pure Growth ETF (RPG).

Read more about "pure style" ETF options in this feature.

No. 4: Rydex S&P MidCap 400 Pure Value ETF (RFV) +201%

The appearance of another pure value ETF among the top performers of the last 52 weeks illustrates the unique risk-return profile offered by this screening technique.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
RKH $54.67 0.00%
PGF $18.38 -0.35%
SLX $36.53 1.70%
TUR $45.94 -1.70%
RWW $49.81 -0.36%

Markets

DOW 17,911.65 -158.75 -0.88%
S&P 500 2,091.79 -22.70 -1.07%
NASDAQ 4,940.3570 -76.5720 -1.53%

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