The top 10 ETFs for the quarter were dominated by funds that employed short strategies and funds invested in natural gas and copper.

While the broad market fell, these funds were able to post very solid returns ranging from 21% to 34% for the three months ended March 31.

Short strategy funds were able to capture returns across the spectrum of industries and sectors. This shows that the U.S. economy is experiencing a broad-based slowdown. Sectors and industries varied from semiconductors/technology, health care, small-cap and midcap stocks.

On the international front, shorting the Chinese market via the ProShares UltraShort FTSE/Xinhua China ( FXP - Get Report) fund capitalized on the recent cooling of that economy's runaway growth rate.

The profitable long positions were exposed to natural gas and copper.

Natural Gas looks like an opportunity going forward if investors want to play the energy market.

FUND_NAME TICKER TSCR Grade Category 1 Month Return 3 Month Return
ProShares Ultra Short Semiconductors SSG A Equity Income -4.35 34.77
United States Natural Gas Fund UNG U Energy/Natural Res 6.41 33.79
ProShares Ultra Short Technology REW C- Growth - Domestic -0.26 33.51
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Natural Gas Total Return GAZ U Energy/Natural Res 6.82 33.20
ProShares Ultra Short QQQ QID C+ Growth - Domestic -5.10 31.57
ProShares Ultra Short Health Care RXD C Health/Biotechnology 8.51 27.02
ProShares Ultra Short Russell 2000 Growth SKK A+ Growth - Domestic -1.59 26.20
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Copper Total Return JJC U Energy/Natural Res -0.53 25.65
ProShares Ultra Short Russell Mid Cap Growth SDK A+ Growth - Domestic 3.02 24.10
ProShares UltraShort FTSE/Xinhua China 25 FXP U Non-US Equity 4.40 21.55

Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the Ratings.

In keeping with TSC's Investment Policy, employees of Ratings with access to pre-publication ratings data must pre-clear any potential trade through the legal department, and are prohibited from trading any security that is the subject of an unpublished rating revision until the second business day after the rating is published.

While Patel cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.