Market Overview

3 Unheralded ETFs Up More Than 10% in the Past 90 Days (PBE, TAGS)


U.S. equities have not impressed over the past three months. In that time, the SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE: SPY) is off almost one percent. The SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA) has slid 1.4 percent while the PowerShares QQQ (NASDAQ: QQQ) has given up 3.2 percent.

Those are the type of statistics that imply finding winners is hard these days. The task is made even trickier for ETF investors looking for those products that have jumped at least 10 percent in the past 90 days. When ETFs and ETNs with significant corn exposure are left out of the equation, the task gets even harder.

Fortunately, investors can find some solace in knowing that there is a surprisingly high number of ETFs and ETNs that have posted double-digit gains in the past 90 days, many of which are not leveraged products.

Teucrium Agricultural Fund (NYSE: TAGS) The Teucrium Agricultural Fund does have significant exposure to corn futures, but it is also fair to say this thinly traded product (TAGS has not traded yet on July 16) is going unnoticed. TAGS is basically a fund of funds and the other funds tracked by TAGS are the Teucrium Corn Fund (NYSE: CORN), Teucrium Soybean Fund (NYSE: SOYB), Teucrium Sugar Fund (NYSE: CANE) and Teucrium Wheat Fund (NYSE: WEAT).

The allocations to CORN and WEAT have been enough to propel TAGS to a one-month gain of 30.4 percent. That alone is enough to make one wonder why TAGS does not garner more press and why it is so thinly traded.

United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund (NYSE: UNL) When it comes to ETFs that track natural gas futures, the United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSE: UNG) dominates the conversation. However, UNG is controversial because it tracks the near-month NYMEX natural gas contract, meaning it has to roll futures contracts every month, leading to increased expenses for investors.

On the other hand, UNL tracks 12 months worth of natural gas futures contracts. That does lead to a performance gap as UNG is up 26 percent in the past three months compared to a gain of almost 11 percent for UNL. Neither ETF is particularly cheap, but UNL is cheaper with a total expense ratio of 0.92 percent compared to 0.97 percent for UNG.

PowerShares Dynamic Biotechnology & Genome Portfolio (NYSE: PBE) Biotechnology ETFs have been stalwarts for all of 2012, but it has really been three ETFs commanding the bulk of the attention.

The returns delivered by the likes of the SPDR S&P Biotechnology ETF (NYSE: XBI) and its most direct rivals have cast a long shadow over PBE, but that does obfuscate the fact that this PowerShares offering is solid biotech play in its own right. Now seven-years-old, PBE has $138 million in assets under management, a number that implies the fund is not destined for the ETF graveyard anytime soon.

To PBE's credit, it does a good job of mixing in the largest biotech names such as Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) and Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) with mid-cap issues such as BioMarin Pharmaceuticals (NASDQ: BMRN) and Life Technologies (NASDAQ: LIFE).

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