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Tickers in this Article: PALL PPLT SIL LIT PAAS SLW SQM
As highlighted by September's ETF industry statistics, there is plenty of room for new funds to keep popping up and attract fresh capital from investors along the way. Accounting for new listings and funds that have been shuttered, a total of 142 net new exchange-traded products have been introduced this year. That brings the total of ETFs and ETNs on U.S. exchanges to 1,067, and these funds manage over $900 billion in assets combined. IN PICTURES: Break Into Forex In 12 Steps

Despite these lofty numbers, the pace of new product introductions in the ETF arena shows no sign of slowing. With that, there are plenty of relevant metaphors from the sports world that apply to investing, so we decided to build a list of new ETFs that would qualify as rookie of the year candidates or would be contenders to make the "ETF Freshman All-American" team.

Given that so many new funds have come to market in the past year we cannot include all of them here, but we did employ a few qualifications. First, the ETF had to be introduced in 2010. Second, it must have sufficient average daily volume and an impressive asset haul as those are two important factors in any ETF's success. Actual returns were secondary in the selection process, but you'll see that all of the funds we mention have provided stellar returns during their short lifespans.

A Shining Pair
For a while, the only ETFs that investors could get their hands that were backed by physical holdings of a particular metal involved gold and silver. ETF Securities changed that in January when the firm introduced the ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSE:PALL) and the ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSE:PPLT).

Volume is decent on both funds with about 154,000 shares changing hands per day in PALL and over 49,000 shares per day turning over in PPLT, but the asset haul is really impressive. As of October 2, PALL had over $436 million in assets under management while PPLT had close to $538 million. Those are astounding figures for ETFs that are less a year old. PALL and PPLT have proven so popular with investors that Commodities Futures Trading Commission is currently considering options trading on both ETFs.

More Metals Please
One of the primary beneficiaries of gold's almost daily ascents to new all-time highs has been silver. The cheaper metal has been trading near, at or above 30-year highs recently, and that's good news for ETFs backed by physical ETFs. The go-go days for gold have also proved to be a significant catalyst for mining stocks, both gold and silver miners. There are two gold mining ETFs, but there's a silver equivalent fund that fits our selection criteria. (To learn more, see Why Gold Matters.)

We're talking about the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE:SIL). SIL is home to some stocks that you may already be familiar with such as Pan American Silver (Nasdaq:PAAS) and Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW), and has proven to be an excellent way to participate in silver's upside. Best of all, the statistics show SIL is here to stay. The ETF debuted on April 19, so as of this writing it's about 5.5 months old, but age is nothing but a number because SIL has garnered an amazing $128 million in assets since its debut. Average daily volume of over 187,000 shares is also impressive for such a new ETF.

An Early Bloomer
The lithium boom is on thanks to increased global demand for hybrid cars and the element's presence in an array of high-tech gadgets. There are a few stocks that are direct plays on the lithium boom, but why stock-pick when you can buy the newly minted Global X Lithium ETF (NYSE: LIT)?

LIT's holdings are split evenly between lithium-ion battery makers and lithium miners, but the one you may already know about is Chemical & Mining Corp. of Chile (NYSE:SQM). The ETF is in a sweet spot of a bullish trend because global lithium demand is expected to double in the next decade. Solidifying the case for taking a look at LIT is the fact the largest lithium deposit in the world, which can be found in Bolivia, isn't currently being mined because of government restrictions.

How quickly has LIT grown? Well, most experts would say a new ETF should attract $50 million in assets in its first full-year of trading. LIT is sitting at $48.4 million AUM just 10 weeks after its debut.

Bottom Line: Some New ETFs Are Worth Embracing
The old saying goes "only fools rush in," and it is a good idea to wait to see how a new ETF is performing, not only in terms of returns, but in terms of volume and asset inflows. That said, you don't want to wait too long because some new ETFs, like the quartet we've highlighted here, validate themselves almost immediately and take off without looking back.

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