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Best and Worst ETF Areas of April

Though risk-on sentiments shored up in April thanks to a dovish Fed and an oil price rebound, gains out of SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) were muted at around 0.4% in the last one month (as of April 29, 2016) probably due to the long-feared earrings recession. Among the other top ETFs, Dow Jones Industrial Average-based DIA added over 0.5%, Nasdaq 100-based QQQ moved lower by 3.2% while the all-world ETF ACWI advanced over 1.3% (read: ETFs that Won & Lost Post Fed Meet).

While we can’t say that the domestic market had broken all the barriers in April, the returns in definite corners were quite solid. Below, we highlight a few of these strong plays, which may be worth paying attention to going forward should the trend seen in April stay in the market for a while.

Inside the Winners

Mining

Miners delivered a commendable performance in April. The strength was especially felt in the gold mining ETFs space. As the Fed seems to be in no hurry to hike interest rates this year, the U.S. dollar lately turned softer. This came as a boon for commodity ETFs. Plus, the looming volatility kept safe-haven assets like gold in demand (read: How to Trade in Gold ETFs After Robust 30-Year Rally?).

Along with the underlying metal gold, gold mining ETFs put up great gains as these often trade as leveraged plays on gold. Not only gold, silver mining ETFs are also on the tear. Silver is widely used for industrial purposes. Improving manufacturing activities in various parts of the globe, in particular China, boosted the demand for the white metal and the related mining ETFs.
Global X Gold Explorers ETF (GLDX) and PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF (SILJ) are among the many mining ETFs that cashed in on this uptrend. GLDX and SILJ were up 60.4% and 56.9% in the last one month (as of April 29, 2016).

MLP

After being abandoned for the last one year, Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) are finally turning the corner on an oil price rebound. Mainly, hopes of falling supply glut and a reduction in U.S. crude inventory brought some relief to the field.

A jump in oil prices (which has been a deterrent to MLPs so far) is good for the MLP ETF space. MLPs often operate pipelines or similar energy infrastructure. Also, the high-yielding nature of MLP securities makes them favorable in the present low-yield environment. 

X-Links Cushing MLP Infrastructure ETN (MLPN) and Morgan Stanley Cushing MLP High Income Index ETN (MLPY) emerged as winners in April returning about 19.1% and 18.8% respectively in the last-one month frame (as of April 29, 2016) (read: MLP ETFs--Time to Invest on Oil Rebound or Too Risky?).

Needless to say, the key driver of the rally in MLP, a recoiling energy sector, also added strength in month. Among the several winners, IQ Global Oil Small Cap ETF (IOIL) and SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Explor & Prodtn ETF (XOP) added about 20% and 17.8% in the last one month (as of April 29, 2016), respectively.

Inside the Losers

Japan

A torrent of downbeat economic readings and a stronger yen (by virtue of its safe haven nature) weighed on Japan equities ETFs. Being an export-driven economy, a stronger yen took the sheen out of its securities. Due to this adverse currency translation, currency-hedged Japanese equities ETFs were hit hard in April.

WisdomTree Japan Hedged Capital Goods ETF (DXJC) and WisdomTree Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity ETF (DXJS) were among the top losers. DXJC and DXJS were down about 7.3% and 6.3% and respectively, in the last one-month frame (as of April 29, 2016).

Taiwan

Taiwan stocks were hit in April by the double whammy of lower-than-expected GDP data and Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) downbeat earnings results. Since Taiwanese companies like Hon Hai Precision Industry act as a supplier to Apple, the iPhone maker’s downcast earnings weighed on these Taiwanese stocks. iShares MSCI Taiwan (EWT) and First Trust Taiwan AlphaDEX ETF (FTW) lost about 5.8% and 5.4%, respectively, in the last one month (as of April 29, 2016).

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GLBL-X GOLD EXP (GLDX): ETF Research Reports
 
PF ISE-JS SC ME (SILJ): ETF Research Reports
 
MS-CUSH MLP HI (MLPY): ETF Research Reports
 
IQ-GLBL OIL SC (IOIL): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR-SP O&G EXP (XOP): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-TAIWAN (EWT): ETF Research Reports
 
FT-TAIWAN (FTW): ETF Research Reports
 
WISDMTR-JP HSCF (DXJS): ETF Research Reports
 
WISDMTR-JP HCGF (DXJC): ETF Research Reports
 
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