Energy, natural resources and basic materials proved to be a winning combination of asset categories, as funds in those areas dominated the list of best performing exchange traded funds for May.
Seven of the funds on the accompanying table of top performing ETFs for the month cover a wide array of the energy/natural resources/basic materials fields. The
Market Vectors Russia ETF
arguably belongs with the group, as its top holdings include the energy giants Lukoil, Rosneft Oil and Gazprom.
With oil and natural gas making up 39.6% of its portfolio and metals amounting to 24.5% of its holdings, energy and basic materials account for just under two-thirds of the RSX's total net assets.
Specialized energy ETFs on the list include coal (the
Market Vectors Coal ETF
), gasoline (the
United States Gasoline Fund LP
) and nuclear energy (
Market Vectors Nuclear Fund ETF
As would reasonably be expected with energy, natural resources and basic materials, the international diversification is a natural byproduct of these funds. KOL, for example, is 45% invested internationally, while more than 80% of NLR's holdings are domiciled outside the U.S.
KOL's largest domestic investments are
For NLR, the biggest U.S. holdings include
Constellation Energy Group
The trio of technology ETFs that share the top-10 ETF list with the energy/natural resources/basic materials funds also represent diversification in that sector. Telecommunications and semiconductor ETFs share the stage with a holdover from the tech bubble "business-to-business internet" days -- the
HOLDRS B2G Internet
The top holdings of the leveraged
ProShares Ultra Telecommunications ETF
The major investments of the leveraged
ProShares Ultra Semiconductors ETF
Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.