The Market Vectors Steel (NYSEARCA:SLX) turned in the best first-half performance of any exchange-traded fund, posting a 42.46 percent rise since January. That easily topped the nearest competition, the iShares Brazil (NYSEARCA:EWZ) fund, which turned in a 30.8% return. Clearly, metals, energy and emerging markets were the places to be for the first half of this year.
On the other side of the table, the iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction ETF (BATS:ITB) delivered the worst return, falling 25.8%, followed by the SPDR Homebuilders (NYSEARCA:XHB) at negative 18.3%. Indeed, the "ten worst" list is dominated by the real estate and homebuilding industry, which truly took it on the chin during the beginning of this year.
The list only includes ETFs that have been trading since January 2007.
On a broader basis, large-cap U.S. stocks outperformed small-caps in the first half, with the Russell 1000 returning 5.54% vs. 3.78% for the Russell 2000. Growth also outperformed value, with the growth version of each index beating out the value index easily. The place to be, however, was mid-caps, which easily outpaced large- and small-caps on all fronts.
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