For returns more than triple the stock market average so far this year, look no further than a quirky group of exchange-traded funds that bet on the latest investment fads.
The top three performing U.S.-listed, non-leveraged ETFs this year are so-called thematic funds — or niche products that focus on categories. From marijuana, to solar power and clean energy, portfolios constructed with companies betting on industrial and social transformations are trouncing rivals across the broader equity market.
While it’s only the end of February, their performance has been astounding. The ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, ticker MJ, which wagers on the growth of cannabis, has surged nearly 50 percent. A fund that focuses on solar power, the Invesco Solar ETF, TAN, and the Invesco Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF, PBW, which holds companies across the new-energy spectrum, have both gained more than 30 percent.