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Stock Slump? ETF Climbs 30% This Year

The 10 best-performing exchange traded funds this year have bet on a stock-market drop.

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

(LHB)

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

(BZQ) - Get Report

, which turned in a second-place performance of 31% in January. As leading Brazilian stocks like

Petrobras

(PZE)

,

Vale

(VALE) - Get Report

,

Itau Unibanco

(ITUB) - Get Report

and

Ambev

(ABV)

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

(TYP)

attempts to track negative 300% of the daily performance of the

Russell 1000 Technology Index

. The index is heavily weighted toward tech-giants

Microsoft

TheStreet Recommends

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

,

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

,

EMC

(EMC)

and

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

.

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

(SGG) - Get Report

gained 11% in one month and 90% over 12 months.

SPDR KBW Bank ETF

(KBE) - Get Report

rose 9.1%. the

iShares Dow Jones US Regional Banks Index Fund

(IAT) - Get Report

climbed 8.8%. And the

SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF

(KRE) - Get Report

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

Top Rated ETFs

page.

-- 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.