TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.If an ETF investor believes a) the March surge was the start of a new bull market; and b) the first ones out of the starting gate are likely to lead the pack later on, he or she ought to consider the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 ( FXI), the Financial Select Sector SPDR ( XLF) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ( XLF) exchange-traded funds. Those China, financial and emerging-markets ETFs, along with the PowerShares QQQ ( QQQQ), rang up double-digit percentage gains last month to lead the non-leveraged funds on the accompanying tabulation of the 20 most popular ETFs, as measured by daily average dollar volume of trading. The popularity of leveraged ETFs appears to have waned. Only seven of the top 20 ETFs are leveraged, one fewer than a month earlier. Only five of the geared ETFs are "inverse" funds, down from six "short" ETFs in February. Moreover, the buoyant stock market seems to have dampened enthusiasm for super-leveraged ETFs. Three Direxion "3x" (tripled leveraged) funds that made the top 20 in February are absent from this month's roster. As has been the case in recent months, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF ( SPY) tops the list of the 20 most popular ETFs. The fund's top holdings include blue chips Exxon Mobil ( XOM), General Electric ( GE), AT&T ( T) and Microsoft ( MSFT). Retaining its hold on the second position on the list, the PowerShares QQQ, which gained 10% during the month, was traded at an average daily pace of $5 billion in March. The fund holds the 100 largest Nasdaq-listed stocks, which, in addition to Microsoft, include Apple ( AAPL), Qualcomm ( QCOM) and Google ( GOOG).