Last month, the financials were the big winners; this month, it has been the commodities. So it should come of little surprise that some of the best performing ETFs over the past four weeks are tied to commodity plays. Here are four ETFs that are on fire right now:

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A Miner Recovery
The Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSE:KOL) has been red-hot over the past four weeks. The price of this fund has ascended 32.9% during this time period. It is still 61.1% off of its 52-week high from last summer, but consolidation in the industry has given KOL a boost more recently.

Last month, Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE:ANR) took out Foundation Coal (NYSE:FCL) in a $1.4 billion stock deal. This acquisition comes on the heels of a $436 million deal by Russia-based Mechel (NYSE:MTL) for the West Virginia-based coal producer Bluestone Industries and several affiliated companies.

While coal miners have been among the best performers over the last four weeks, the gold miners are not far behind. The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX) has surged 20.8% during this same timeframe as the price of gold has continued a march back towards $1,000 an ounce.

Previously, the price of gold, and in turn the gold mining stocks, benefited from investors piling money into these stocks as a safe haven play. Now these same investors will be shifting their focus to the Federal Reserve's monetary policy and the prospects for inflation which could also inadvertently end up driving gold prices higher.

Pain at the Pump
Last summer, consumers cringed as the price of a gallon of gasoline rose above $4. The rise lead to significant cutbacks in demand, and prices eventually cratered. Slowly but surely, the price of gas has begun to edge its way back up. The United States Gasoline Fund ETF (NYSE:UGA) has surged 27.9% in the month of May alone.

The Energy Department expects gas prices to remain near their current levels. If this prediction turns out to be correct, UGA will begin to plateau and motorists will not have to fret over the potential return to $4 a gallon - at least not just yet. (For more, see Getting A Grip On The Cost Of Gas.)

Given the country's heavy reliance on commodities, Russia has benefited a great deal from the rebound in commodity prices. The Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSE: RSX) is up 22.1% over the past four weeks. This fund is weighted 40.2% in oil and gas and 15.5% in steel.

Another big component of this fund, which is on the rebound in Russia, is the telecommunications sector. RSX is weighted 16.6% in telecom and has a 3.8% position in Vimpel-Communications (NYSE:VIP). Shares of Vimpel have soared more than 160% since hitting a 52-week low on March 9.

The Bottom Line
Commodities had been badly beaten down since their extraordinary run-up last summer. It was only a matter of time until the subsequent collapse drew in bargain hunters. Going forward, the prices of these ETFs will likely be tied to factors such as the strength of the dollar and underlying supply and demand fundamentals rather than speculation or bargain hunting. In any event, these funds are on an impressive run and are worth keeping an eye on going forward. (For more, see Singling Out Sector ETFs and Sector-Based ETFs Spread Out Risk.)



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Tickers in this Article: KOL, ANR, FCL, MTL, GDX, UGA, RSX, VIP

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