By Michael Johnston of ETF DatabaseMarch 9, 2009 is a date etched into the memories of many investors. That was the day most equity markets hit their lows following months of unprecedented volatility, depressing statistical releases and countless false bottoms. It also marked the beginning of an impressive rally that saw most major indices climb steadily for the remainder of the year, reclaiming big chunks of the ground lost during the downturn. While the "great rally of '09" boosted most asset classes (and their related exchange-traded funds), some performed far better than others. Below, we highlight the 10 nonleveraged ETFs that have delivered the best performances in the 12 months following the bear market lows of March 2009:
RFV seeks to replicate the performance of the S&P MidCap 400/Citigroup Pure Value Index, a benchmark that contains only those S&P MidCap 400 companies with strong value characteristics as selected by S&P. No. 3: Market Vectors Indonesia ETF ( IDX) +205% Indonesia joins Russia and Turkey as the top performing international equity ETFs since the bear market lows, surging more than 200% over the last year. IDX is designed to replicate the performance of the Market Vectors Indonesia Index, and maintains significant allocations to the financial services and materials industries. Indonesia is one of the lesser-known emerging markets, but also one of the fastest-growing. The resource rich nation is home to numerous valuable commodities, including coffee, palm oil, rubber and rice. No. 2: Market Vectors Coal ETF ( KOL) +228% As the recession set in during the second half of 2008, few industries were hit as hard as coal, as dimming economic prospects translated into a reduced need for the energy source that powers many of the world's factories and manufacturing operations. KOL closed near $56 per share in June 2008 and then slid to nearly $11 five months later. But over the last year, this ETF, which includes coal miners and producers, equipment makers and technology firms, has surged. KOL has gained about 228% over the last 52 weeks. Another coal ETF, the PowerShares Global Coal Portfolio ( PKOL) is up an almost as impressive 175% over the last year. No. 1: PowerShares Financial Preferred ( PGF) +261% This ETF is linked to the Wachovia Hybrid & Preferred Securities Financial Index, a benchmark that tracks the performance of U.S.-listed preferred stocks. At the height of the financial crisis, preferred stock issued by big banks became a very risky asset that some investors feared would lose all of its value. The wave of irrational fear that swept over markets punished this fund too severely, setting it up for a huge run following the market bottom. For investors who were able to identify PGF as a buy near the market bottom, the reward has been a significant one: This fund is up more than 261% over the last year. At the time of publication, Johnston had no positions in securities mentioned.