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ETF Action: Materials ETFs Hold Gains


NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Markets returned most of their gains on Tuesday, ending the day marginally positive. However, ETFs tracking commodities, including mining and materials, ended Tuesday on a relatively stronger note.

Following the Reserve Bank of Australia's comments that its economy's growth is on track and that China's expansion is stabilizing, the iShares Emerging Markets Materials Index (EMMT) rose 4.81% in early trading on Tuesday, before cooling off to settle at $20.67, up 1.45%. The SPDR S&P International Materials Fund (IRV) gained 3.43%, led by gains in two of its top holdings, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RTP).

The PowerShares DBB Base Metals Fund (DBB), an exchange-traded fund that tracks the price movement of base metals, rose 1.97%.

Market Vectors Trust Steel (SLX) rose 1.5%. Its holdings include Cliff Natural Resources (CLF), which announced the acquisition of INR Energy's coal operations.

With oil rising above $73 a barrel, oil ETFs also saw a spike during Tuesday's morning session. The United States Oil Fund (USO) rose 1.69% to $33.14. Those gains were quickly erased after oil prices retreated.

ETFs that counted BP (BP) among their top holdings also rose, with the stock gaining 8.7% after the company announced that it would not need to issue equity and was upgraded to a buy rating by RBS. Revenue Shares ADR Fund (RTR) and BLDRS Europe 100 ADR (ADRU) featured in the gainers list.

Natural gas ETFs were in the spotlight as a heat wave threatens to engulf the northeastern states, triggering demand for more power. The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) shot up 4.45% to $8.22 before cooling off to $7.90.

Solar energy ETFs are basking in the sun as well. While most of the action in solar stocks reflected positive investor sentiment in the markets, Germany's move to reduce subsidies for rooftop solar projects was also a minor positive. Claymore MAC Global Solar Energy ETF (TAN) soared 4.45%, led by gains in First Solar (FSLR) and JA Solar Holdings (JASO).

-- Reported by Shanthi Venkataraman in New York.

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