Commodities have been a great place for index investors to be during the month of February. Those with exposure to oil have done particularly well and even precious metal ETFs have continued to push upwards. Here are four ETFs on fire right now. (For more, see How To Pick The Best ETF.)
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Crude Climbs Higher
A spike in crude inventories last week has done little to stem the recent rise in oil prices. The United States Oil Fund (ARCA:USO) has jumped about 8% since the beginning of February.
Tensions in the Middle East have certainly influenced the move higher. The price of light, sweet crude now sits at a 10-month high, just north of $109 per barrel. As unlikely of a scenario as it may be, any movement towards calm and stability could take the wind out of the sails of this rally.
As the price of a barrel of crude has moved up the charts, so have the stock prices of oil exploration companies. The iShares Dow Jones U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Index Fund (ARCA:IEO) has climbed about 10% since February 1. This ETF will likely continue to take its lead from USO in the weeks ahead. (For related reading, see An Inside Look At ETF Construction.)
Countries in the Spotlight
A number of country focused ETFs have been among the best performing ETFs during the month of February. With a heavy weighting in commodities the Market Vectors Russia ETF (ARCA:RSX) cranked out a 9.5% rally.
Tailgating off of the advance in crude oil prices, Russian stocks had their largest daily gain in three months on Feb. 24, 2012. Progress towards a resolution to the Greek debt crisis has also been a helper for RSX.
One other country focused ETF that has an impressive run during the month of February is the iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund (ARCA:EWG). The move has been partially driven by a decision by SAP AG (NYSE:SAP) to pay out dividends in excess of analysts' expectations. The stock is now at its highest level since the fall of 2000. Shares of EWG on the other hand are up 6.3% since the beginning of the month.
The Bottom Line
It has been a big month for commodity ETFs as well as for those countries with a great deal of exposure to natural resources such as Russia. Investors in these funds are probably going to face more than their fair share of volatility as we head into March. These four ETFs are on fire right now, but it would not take much to cool them off in a hurry. (For related reading, see The 5 Best Performing Gold ETFs.)
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At the time of writing, Billy Fisher did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.