Commodity ETFs Top Performance List

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Six of the 10 best-performing exchange traded products rode the resurgence in commodity prices in February. The iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN (BAL) spun its way to a return of 18% for the month.

The iPath Dow Jones-UBS Nickel Subindex Total Return ETN ( JJN) topped the four metals investments, returning 15% by tracking the spot value of nickel. Third-best was SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF ( XME), up 11% on holdings of mining shares such as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold ( FCX), Newmont Mining ( NEM) and Alcoa ( AA).

Today's economy is not built on raw materials alone. Building most new products, from cell phones to baby dolls, involves embedding semiconductor chips. Chips, which must be ordered with sufficient lead time at the beginning of a new-product cycle, are an early indicator of better economic times to come.

Funds fully participating in this trend include the PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors Portfolio ( PSI), up 11%; and the SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF ( XSD), up 9.2%. Both funds hold Intel ( INTC), Texas Instruments ( TXN) and Micron Technology ( MU), although the SPDR is the more liquid fund to trade.

Improbably, with oil surging back over $80 a barrel, not only is a fund tracking oil in the top-10 performers for February, but so is an airline fund. The iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Total Return Index ETN ( OIL) gained 9.2%, while the Claymore/NYSE Arca Airline ETF ( FAA) ascended 11%.

For the best rated exchange-traded funds, check out our Top Rated ETFs page.

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla.

Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the 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.

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