These 15 ETFs made you a killing in the first quarter

  • The best performing exchange-traded fund so far this year tracks cannabis stocks.
  • The top 15 ETFs have all gained at least 26% in 2019.
  • ETFs tracking Chinese equities made the most frequent appearance, taking six of the top 15 slots.

Many exchange-traded funds have rocketed higher in 2019 alongside a broader recovery in markets, driven by the Fed’s “pause” of its interest-rate hikes as well as the adoption of a more dovish outlook.

In addition, fears of a recession in the US have eased, with market commentators indicating the worst of the slowdown may even have passed in the US and China.

ETFs tracking the surging Chinese stock market took the lion’s share of the top 15 spots, with six making an appearance.

Meanwhile, an ETF tracing the red-hot cannabis industry led the pack, posting a return of 46%. Top holdings of the ETF include Aurora Cannabis, GW Pharmaceuticals, and Cronos Group, which have soared amid moves towards the legalization of marijuana production and distribution in the US.

Check out the 15 top-performing ETFs of Q1, excluding levered ETFs and those with assets under $US100 million from our selection:


ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF

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YTD Return: 46%

AUM: $US1.2 billion

Top 3 holdings:

  • Aurora Cannabis
  • GW Pharmaceuticals
  • Cronos Group

Fund descriptio
n:

The index tracks the performance of companies across the globe, including in the US, that are engaged exclusively in legal activities of cannabis for medical or non-medical purposes.


ARK Genomic Revolution ETF

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YTD Return: 37%

AUM: $US394 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Invitae
  • Illumina
  • Intellia Therapeutics

Fund description:

Companies within ARKG are focused on and are expected to substantially benefit from extending and enhancing the quality of human and other life by incorporating technological and scientific developments and advancements in genomics into their business.


Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF

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YTD Return: 31%

AUM:$US2.2 billion

Top 3 holdings:

  • Ping An Insurance Group
  • Kweichow Moutai
  • China Merchants Bank

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to track the A-shares of domestic Chinese equities that trade on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges, tracking over 300 companies.


KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A Share ETF

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YTD Return: 30%

AUM: $US561 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Kweichow Moutai
  • Ping An Insurance Group
  • China Merchants Bank

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to track the progressive partial inclusion of A shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over time.


CNYA – iShares MSCI China A ETF

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YTD Return: 30%

AUM: $US126 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Kweichow Moutai
  • Ping An Insurance Group
  • China Merchants Bank

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to track the A-shares of domestic Chinese equities that trade on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges. The ETF tracks over 200 holdings.


Xtrackers MSCI China A Inclusion Equity ETF

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YTD Return: 30%

AUM: $US141 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Kweichow Moutai
  • Ping An Insurance Group
  • China Merchants Bank

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to track the A-shares of domestic Chinese equities that trade on the Shanghai or Shenzhen stock exchanges. The ETF tracks over 200 holdings.


Invesco DWA Technology Momentum ETF

MongoDB

YTD Return: 29%

AUM: $US193 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • MongoDB
  • RingCentral
  • Twilio

Fund description:

The ETF is designed to identify companies that are showing momentum among the DWA Technology Technical Leaders Index. The ETF is composed of at least 30 securities from the Nasdaq.


ALPS Medical Breakthroughs ETF

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YTD Return: 29%

AUM: $US199 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Galapagos NV
  • Array BioPharma
  • Agios Pharmaceuticals

Fund description:

The ETF invests in the stocks of companies operating in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, with a market capitalisation of no less than $US200 million and no more than $US5 billion.


Global X MSCI China Consumer Discretionary ETF

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YTD Return: 29%

AUM: $US154 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Alibaba
  • JD.com
  • Ctrip.com

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to invest in the consumer discretionary sector among the A-shares of domestic Chinese equities that trade on the Shanghai or Shenzen stock exchange.


SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF

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YTD Return: 28%

AUM: $US217 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • U.S. Silica Holdings
  • RPC
  • Dril-Quip

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to provide exposure to the oil and gas equipment and services segment of the S&P total market index, which comprises the oil & gas drilling sub-industry and the oil & gas equipment & services sub-industry.


Invesco Golden Dragon China ETF

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

YTD Return: 28%

AUM: $US206 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Ctrip.com
  • JD.com
  • Netease

Fund description:

The ETF invests in US exchange-listed companies that are headquartered or incorporated in the People’s Republic of China.


WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund

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YTD Return: 28%

AUM: $US206 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Tencent Holdings
  • Alibaba
  • Baidu

Fund description:

The index seeks to track the investment results of Chinese companies that are not state-owned enterprises, which is defined as government ownership of greater than 20%.


SPDR S&P Software & Services ETF

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YTD Return: 27%

AUM: $US212 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Invitae
  • Illumina
  • Intellia Therapeutics

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to provide exposure to the software and services segment of the S&P total market index, which comprises the following sub-industries: Application software, data processing & outsourced services, home entertainment software, IT consulting & other services, and systems software.


SPDR S&P Biotech ETF

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YTD Return: 26%

AUM: $US554 million

Top 3 holdings:

  • Paycom Software Inc
  • Square
  • Universal Display

Fund description:

The ETF is composed of securities with strong growth characteristics selected from the Russell Midcap Index.


Invesco Russell MidCap Pure Growth ETF

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YTD Return: 26%

AUM:$US4.5 billion

Top 3 holdings:

  • Invitae
  • Illumina
  • Intellia Therapeutics

Fund description:

The ETF seeks to provide exposure to the biotechnology segment of the S&P total market index.


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