The best performing ETFs this year can be found in a number of categories. The stock market in February continued its strong rally begun in late December, propelling to new heights ETFs invested in large-cap and midcap growth stocks, Chinese stocks and marijuana and solar stocks. Among fixed income, ETFs focused on convertible securities posted strong returns for the month and year to date.
ETFMG Alternative Harvest (MJ) padded its 48.7% year-to-date performance lead with a 15.9% surge last month through Feb. 27. Top holdings of the marijuana ETF include GW Pharmaceuticals PLC ADR (GWPH), Cronos Group (CRON) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB). Their shares are up from 43% to 100% this year.
The ETF has been extremely volatile. Sales of MJ's top holdings have been ramping up, but profits are expected to appear for the first time this year.
Best Performing ETFs: Diversified Stock
Among the best performing diversified stock ETFs, Invesco Russell MidCap Purse Growth (PXMG) continued its steep trajectory, gaining 10% in the past month for a YTD gain of 24.%. What driving its gains? The likes of fast-growing Square (SQ), Paycom (PAYC) and Chipolte Mexican Grill (CMG), which are among the ETFs top holdings.
Paycom is among the top 10 of the IBD 50, a list of stocks leading the market with above-average earnings growth. Earnings of the provider of cloud-based human capital software have risen at a 86% annual rate the past three years. Analyst consensus views put earnings growth at 18% this year and 27% next year.
Square, which provides point-of-sale software for payment processing, has seen profit soar at a 185% annual rate the past three years. Earnings are seen rising 55% this year and 52% next year. The stock sits 23% below its September high after advancing from a December low.
The table below contains the top performing ETFs year to date, divided into six categories. Although there can be no guarantee that these ETFs will remain top performers, at least for now they appear to be in the sweet spot of the market. So this list might prove helpful to those researching ETFs for their portfolios.