NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The 10 best-performing exchange traded funds this year bet on a stock-market decline using leverage, or borrowed money.
The 300% inverse leveraged
Direxion Daily Latin America Bear 3X Shares
beat all others in January, jumping 36%. Despite a drop so far this month, the ETF is still up 30% since Jan. 1.
The Direxion ETF tracks the opposite trajectory of the
S&P Latin America 40 Index
, with weightings of 61% toward Brazilian equities, 25% Mexico, 10% Chile, 2% Argentina and 1% Peru. The fund is only two months old, has attracted $6.4 million in total assets and averages a trading volume of almost 10,000 shares a day.
Seven times as actively traded is the seven-month-old
ProShares UltraShort MSCI Brazil
, which turned in a second-place performance of 31% in January. As leading Brazilian stocks like
sank like BRICs, the ETF cleaned up with 200% inverse leverage.
Eleven times as popular, at an average trading volume of 776,000 shares a day, the
Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares
attempts to track negative 300% of the daily performance of the
Russell 1000 Technology Index
. The index is heavily weighted toward tech-giants
Skipping past 40 inverse ETFs and one market-neutral ETF, the two sweetest spots among bullish exchange traded funds in January was reserved for sugar and banking. The
iPath Dow Jones-UBS Sugar Subindex Total Return ETN
gained 11% in one month and 90% over 12 months.
SPDR KBW Bank ETF
rose 9.1%. the
iShares Dow Jones US Regional Banks Index Fund
climbed 8.8%. And the
SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF
advanced 8.2% on TARP-repayment euphoria and the path to further financial industry regulatory reform getting more challenging upon the election of a 41st Republican, Scott Brown of Massachusetts to the U.S. Senate.
For the best-rated exchange traded funds, check out our
-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla.
Kevin Baker is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. He had joined 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.