Top ETFs For The First Half Of 2018

2018 has been a wild year with the bursting of the Bitcoin Bubble, some President Trump induced rallies and declines, trade war fears, North Korean diplomacy and the Facebook data scandal. But most all of, after the stock market rallying for years, its beginning to show signs of sluggishness as the S&P 500 is up a mere 0.84% during the first half of 2018.

But despite the weakness of the overall market, some investors, with the help of a few Exchange Traded Funds have made money during the first half of the year. Let us take a look at the top four, non-leveraged, non-VIX ETF’s during the first half of 2018.

The best performing non-leveraged, non-VIX ETF was the Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF (PSCH) which rose by 30.62%. Over the last 12 months, PSCH is up more than 45% after climbing an additional 16% during the most recent three months. The fund owns small cap stocks which operate in the healthcare sector and currently more then 75% of the assets are in companies that have a market cap smaller than $2.7 billion. The fund tends to lean towards healthcare equipment companies and healthcare providers more so than drug companies. The averagely weighted market cap is just $2.5 billion. The fund currently has $752 million in assets under management and 74 holdings. The top three holdings are Chemed Corp. (CHE), Haemonetics Corp. (HAE), and Neogen Corp. (NEOG). The funds top ten stocks make up 33% of assets, and it will cost an investor 0.29% to own PSCH on a yearly basis.

An aging population which is living longer than any other generation before it tends to be good for the healthcare industry. While PSCH may not end the year as the top ETF, it is indeed one you could buy now and feel comfortable owning for years to come.

The second and third best performing non-leveraged, non-VIX ETF’s where the SPDR S&P Internet ETF (XWEB) which was up 28.25% and the First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index ETF (FDN) which was up 25.47%. Both funds pick from the same group of stocks, US Internet, software and services stocks. Over the past year, XWEB is up 41% while FDN has risen 43%. FDN also beat XWEB over the last three months, 17% return compared to 16%, but XWEB does have a slightly lower expense ratio of 0.35% compared to 0.53%. FDN is also substantially larger with $8.71 billion in assets under management compared to just $34 million for XWEB.

FDN only has positions in 40 companies while XWEB has 66 holdings of which Etsy (ETSY), (WEB), and PetMed Express (PETS) compose the top three. The top ten also consumes just 16% of the fund compared to FDN’s top ten making up 54% of the fund with (AMZN), Facebook (FB), and Netflix (NFLX) make up the top three.

The internet realm has been really hot in 2018, well let’s be honest it’s been hot since the crash, and it is showing no signs of slowing. Both funds have different top holdings and are still performing wonderfully which can mean it’s really the whole industry that’s outperforming, not as much a handful of stocks. With that said, investors may want to take caution with internet stocks as we see some valuations grow to outrageous levels.

And finally, we had the Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY) which increased by 24.88% over the first six months of the year. IBUY purchases equities from all around the world, but US stocks received a 75% minimum weight, and those companies can have any size market capitalization. The only requirement is that at least 70% of the company’s revenue is generated from online sales.
The ETF carries an expense ratio of 0.65%, has $449 million in assets, has a weighted market capitalization of $55 billion and an average price to earnings ratio of 144. Currently, the fund only has 38 holdings of which Carvana Co. (CVNA), Wayfair (W), and TripAdvisor (TRIP) make up the top three holdings. The funds top ten holdings represent more than 40% of the assets. Over the past three months, the fund is up 14% while it has risen 43% over the last year. Furthermore, the fund was up more than 30% before a slight pullback in mid-June.

The retail industry is in the midst of upheaval, mainly due to the online retailers. But, with the recent ruling from the Supreme Court on State taxes, we could see a minor short-term shift in where consumers are spending money. But, the trend is rather clear, online shopping is the future of retail so getting on that train now makes a lot of sense.

Matt Thalman Contributor - ETFs
Follow me on Twitter @mthalman5513

Disclosure: This contributor held long positions in Facebook,, and Netflix at the time this blog post was published. This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from for their opinion.