Five Global ETF Investing Trends To Ride Into Year-End

globalRudy Martin: If you ever visit the tracks, you know the home stretch always draws the most cheers.

Investors do the same kind of cheering as the calendar year enters its “home stretch.” This year’s fourth quarter is shaping up to be a barn-burner!

The financial racetrack has some big hurdles. The budget stand-off has federal agencies running on skeleton crews. Bond traders don’t know what to expect if Congress fails to raise the Treasury debt ceiling. Everyone is wondering when (and if) the Federal Reserve will start “tapering” its quantitative easing program.

Those are three formidable obstacles.

While I normally recommend individual stocks to my readers, I keep a close eye on Exchange-Traded Funds.

Their trading action helps me identify industries and regions where significant trends are developing. And for tapping into overseas markets from the safety of home, ETFs offer a tremendously powerful tool to broaden your investment reach while doing so with a great deal of peace of mind.

When I’m hunting opportunities in ETFs, I look at both performance and money flows.

Which ETFs will win the 2013 horse race? As you can see in these tables, the field is still wide open.

Here are some of the trends I see.

2013 EQUITY ETF PERFORMANCE SUMMARY THROUGH SEPT. 30

Data as of Sept. 30, 2013.
Leveraged and “inverse” ETFs not included.
Source: Morningstar

TREND # 1: Green Energy

The 2013 ETF leaders include several alternative energy ETFs. Six of the top YTD gainers are in solar, “green,” alternative or wind energy.

Two solar ETFs also topped all other equity ETFs in the third quarter.

Even with fracking and $100+ oil prices in the headlines, traditional energy is nowhere on the lists —  unless you consider nuclear energy “traditional.” Global X Uranium (NYSEARCA:URA) fizzled 9.39% in the latest quarter.

TREND # 2: Precious Metals

While precious metals ETFs still dominate the year-to-date losers, they had better luck in recent months. No member of that group made the third quarter top 10 losers.

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