With more than 97% of exchange-traded funds ahead for the year, 2006 can only be classified as a terrific year for ETFs.

Of the 361 ETFs tracked by TheStreet.com Ratings, performance statistics for full-year 2006 is available for more than 200 of them.

All but six of the group managed positive total returns for the year, with the average fund ahead by a healthy 17.9%.

A table of the best and worst performers for 2006 (below) shows that the big rewards came to funds investing outside the U.S. Robust returns in the overseas markets were supplemented by strength in foreign currencies relative to the dollar.

The list of the top 20 funds includes 12 non-U.S. equity ETFs and one emerging-markets fund.

Three of the top four funds were focused on Asian investments, with China funds capturing the top two spots.

Three of the top 10 performing ETFs aimed their investment at Latin America.

Conversely, it was not a stellar year for tech ETFs. The bottom four included two Internet ETFs, a semiconductor and a broadband fund.

Biotech ETFs also place among the bottom 20 funds.

2006 ETF Winners and Losers
Fund Name Ticker Investment Objective Market Cap ($Mil) Calendar 2006 Total Return (%) TSC Rating Grade
Calendar 2006 Winners
iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 FXI Non-US Equity 4,031.4 82.98 A+
PowerShares Gldn Drgn Hltr USX Chn PGJ Non-US Equity 293.8 53.24 A+
iShares MSCI Spain EWP Non-US Equity 213.0 49.25 A+
iShares MSCI Singapore EWS Non-US Equity 711.8 45.68 A+
iShares MSCI Mexico EWW Non-US Equity 925.9 44.80 A-
iShares MSCI Sweden EWD Non-US Equity 183.1 43.71 A+
iShares MSCI Brazil EWZ Non-US Equity 2,808.3 43.22 B-
HOLDRS Internet Infrastructure IIH Growth 47.0 41.45 C-
iShares S&P Latin American 40 ILF Non-US Equity 1,342.8 40.99 B+
iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Major ICF Growth & Income 2,435.9 38.43 C-
BLDRS Emerging Market 50 ADR ADRE Emerging Market Equity 80.9 37.35 C
First Trust Value Line Dividend FVD Growth & Income 536.5 37.34 B
HOLDRS Telecom TTH Growth 320.1 37.20 B-
iShares MSCI Austria EWO Non-US Equity 452.2 36.76 A+
Vanguard Telecom Serv ETF VOX Equity Income 79.5 36.72 A+
iShares MSCI Malaysia EWM Non-US Equity 449.2 36.30 B+
iShares MSCI Belgium EWK Non-US Equity 169.4 35.61 A
streetTRACKS Wilshire REIT RWR Growth & Income 1,194.4 35.55 C-
iShares MSCI EMU EZU Non-US Equity 1,988.8 35.49 A+
Vanguard REIT ETF VNQ Growth & Income 1,503.3 35.18 B+
Calendar 2006 Losers
HOLDRS Internet HHH Growth 230.3 -19.70 E-
HOLDRS B2B Internet BHH Growth 24.8 -10.02 E-
HOLDRS Semiconductor SMH Growth 2,684.0 -7.44 E-
HOLDRS Broadband BDH Growth 115.2 -7.00 E-
HOLDRS TeleBras TBH Non-US Equity 703.2 -6.86 E-
HOLDRS Biotech BBH Health/Biotechnology 1,708.3 -4.36 D+
iShares Goldman Sachs Semiconductor IGW Equity Income 289.0 0.23 E-
iShares Lehman TIPS Bond TIP Government Bond 4,119.2 0.29 D+
iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology IBB Health/Biotechnology 1,628.3 0.67 E-
iShares Lehman 20+Yr Treasury Bond TLT Government Bond 1,481.1 0.72 D+
PowerShares Dynamic Bldg & Cons PKB Equity Income 22.5 1.63 E+
PowerShares Dynamic Biotech&Genome PBE Health/Biotechnology Health/Biotechnology 2.31 E+
iShares Lehman 7-10Yr Treasury Bond IEF Government Bond 1,637.7 2.53 D
iShares Goldman Sachs Network IGN Growth 196.1 3.77 E-
iShares Lehman 1-3Yr Treasury Bond SHY Government Bond 5,106.6 3.89 D
iShares Lehman Aggregate AGG General Bd - Investment Grade 3,952.0 3.91 D+
iShares iBoxx $ Inves Grade Corp Bd LQD Corporate - Investment Grade 2,583.3 4.24 D
PowerShares Val Line Timeliness Sel PIV Equity Income 171.6 4.58 U
PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductor PSI Equity Income 91.3 4.63 E-
PowerShares Lux Nanotech PXN Growth 101.8 5.06 E
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings

Richard Widows is a 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.