5 ETFs That Were on Fire in the First Quarter

With the books closing on the first quarter of 2019, it’s been a strong start for U.S. equities–the Dow Jones Industrial is up 12.56 percent through Monday’s close, the S&P 500 is up 14.37 percent and the Nasdaq Composite is 18 percent higher. This is obviously translating into strength for exchanged-traded funds (ETFs), which garnered almost $50 billion in inflows year-to-date.

The rise comes after a rocky end to 2018, and investors are picking themselves up again in 2019. What sectors exactly have seen the hottest ETFs thus far in 2019?

A recurring theme is strength in China. China is becoming less resistant to safeguarding its businesses, which has opened up pathways to more foreign investment.

In addition, China ETFs have been the beneficiaries of index provider MSCI Inc. announcing recently that it would quadruple its weighting of large-cap Chinese shares in its benchmark indexes. A recent MSCI Inc. press release said the index provider would increase the weight of China A shares by upping the inclusion factor from 5 percent to 20 percent.

Here were the hottest ETFs during the first quarter.

Before the volatility-laden fourth quarter in 2018 tamped down gains, cannabis-related equities were flying high. However, they’re regaining their momentum in 2019 again as evidenced by MJ’s strong start.

MJ seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the total return performance of the Prime Alternative Harvest Index. The index is concentrated in the pharmaceuticals and tobacco industries and tracks the performance of the exchange-listed common stock of companies across the globe.

Earlier this year, MJ crossed the $1 billion mark in assets in addition to the Canada-based Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ). This is not the first time HMMJ crossed that milestone, last achieving the feat back in October when Canada legalized marijuana.

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