In July, the best-performing exchange-traded funds bet either against commodities, or on biotechnology stocks.
With the sharp pullback in the price of oil to the $110 level from the $140 level, the
UltraShort Oil & Gas ProShares
gained 32.24% in July. The fund tracks the inverse of the Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Index with 200% leverage.
The second-best performer,
iShares MSCI Turkey Investible Market Index Fund
, added 25.23% for the month. This index fund, which began trading on March 28, is off to a good start.
Two other hot newcomers with even shorter track records focus on shorting commodities. For July, the
PowerShares DB Commodity Double Short ETN
is up 23.06%. Over the same period, the
PowerShares DB Agriculture Double Short ETN
Most of the remaining funds on the list hold biotech stocks like
The best-performing of these biotechnology funds are the
SPDR S&P Biotech ETF
Biotech HOLDRs Trust
, appreciating 20.10% and 19.75%, respectively.
Climbing out of the abyss, the
Regional Bank HOLDRs Trust
halved its loss over the last year with a solid, 16.60% performance in July. Top holdings include
Bank of America
For an explanation of our ratings,
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.