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A check of the best-performing actively-managed ETFs

  • ETFs are primarily passively-managed - with only 84 actively managed funds out of a total of 1,570 U.S. listings - but several are holding their own, writes Cinthia Murphy, and a few are beating their indexed counterparts YTD. The five best this year:
  • The Pimco Build America Bonds Strategy (BABZ +0.6%) is up 4.4% vs. 5% for the indexed PowerShares Build America Bond ETF (BAB +0.5%). Pimco's offering is pricey - 45 basis points - but it's the wide bid-ask spread averaging 28 basis points investors should most be aware of.
  • The First Trust Preferred Securities and Income ETF (FPE +0.1%) is ahead 4.61% YTD, about inline with the PowerShares Financial Preferred ETF (PGF).
  • The Columbia Select Large Cap Growth ETF (RWG -1%) is up 6.76% YTD, but has only gathered $16M in assets over four years in existence. The combined 80 bp expense ratio and wide bid-ask spread leads to a rough cost of about 113 bps. Indexed offerings in the same category like IWF and VUG are up less than 3% this year.
  • The PowerShares Active U.S. Real Estate ETF (PSR -1.2%) is up 6.77% YTD vs. indexed competitors IYR and VNQ up 7.88% and 9%, respectively.
  • Leading the way is the First Trust Global Tactical Commodity Strategy ETF (FTGC) up 15.14% - it's the only actively managed commodity ETF.
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