Scan the business headlines, and you’ll find one consistent theme:
The financial media is obsessed with the outlook for U.S. stock markets.
Will the Dow break through 20,000?
Will the Trump rally in the S&P 500 continue?
After outperforming the S&P 500 for 10 straight days, will the Nasdaq keep partying like it’s 1999?
The assumption is that you can invest in U.S. stocks, or keep your money in cash.
This obsession is unsurprising.
After all, the U.S. stock market is the biggest game in town.
It has trounced all other stock markets across the planet over the past decade.
As I have pointed out, among the 47 global stock markets I track on a daily basis, the U.S. stock market has dominated with a #1, #2, and #1 place showing over the past three-, five- and 10-year periods.
That kind of outperformance is unprecedented.
Still, if you focus only on the major U.S. market averages, you are missing out on some of the best investment opportunities on the planet
That’s because there are plenty of asset classes that trounce the U.S. stock market over the short term.
Moreover, the advent of specialized exchange-traded funds (ETFs) lets you invest in some unusual — and highly profitable — opportunities that were unavailable to retail investors even five years ago.
The Hottest ETFs on the Planet
All of this dovetails well with one of my most recent research projects.
Over the past six months, I have been developing a proprietary trading system that identifies those U.S. stocks with the greatest short-, medium- and long-term momentum.
This system serves as the basis for a new trading service that I will be launching in the coming weeks.
This week, I decided to apply this same momentum trading system to identify the ETFs with the greatest momentum.
By applying this system to ETFs, I have identified a range of strategies and asset classes that are completely off the radar screen of 99% of investors.
With that, here are the three top momentum ETFs of the past 12 months:
1. VanEck Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ) — up 146.70%
If you like risky bets, this is the ETF for you.
It is hard to get riskier than investing in the emerging markets’ bad boy, Russia.
However, RSXJ does just that by combining the themes of Russia with small-cap stocks.
RSXJ a volatile cocktail that will make the most seasoned investors lightheaded.
RSXJ versus the S&P 500 over the past 12 months.
Thanks to its vast reserves of natural gas and oil, a bet on the Russian stock market is usually a bet on the energy sector.
Surprisingly, RSXJ does not tilt as much towards the energy sector as its big-cap brother, VanEck Vectors Russia ETF (RSX).
RSXJ’s weighting in energy is matched by its similar weightings in utilities, materials and industrial stocks.
RSXJ’s top three holdings are Aeroflot Russian Airlines PJSC, LSR Group PJSC and steelmaker Mechel PAO (MTL).
From a risk management standpoint, think of RSXJ as an option that won’t expire.
Over the past 12 months, the VanEck Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ) has posted a total return (including dividends) of 146.70%.
RSXJ charges 0.67% in annual fees.
2. iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers (PICK) — up 107.71%
Investment guru Jim Rogers is famous for calling the bottom of the commodity market during the dot-com boom in 1999.
Alas, Rogers was unable to call the top of the commodities supercycle, which petered out in 2012. Since then, commodities have been firmly in investors’ doghouse.
Recently, commodities have been making an impressive, if low profile, comeback, with iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers (PICK) doubling over the past 12 months.
PICK versus the S&P 500 over the last 12 months.
PICK tracks a market-cap-weighted index of the leading global metals mining firms. That makes PICK a one-stop shop for investors looking to invest in the sector.
The index does exclude gold and silver mining firms like Barrick Gold (ABX) and Goldcorp (GG), earning the ire of gold bugs.
As such, Pick has large allocations to coal and integrated mining companies. Aside from gold, PICK’s portfolio is both diverse and weighted toward developed countries, with relatively small weightings in commodity-heavy emerging markets like Brazil and Russia.
PICK’s top three holdings are BHP Billiton Limited (BHP), Rio Tinto plc (RIO) and Glencore Plc (GLNCY).
Over the past 12 months, the iShares MSCI Global Metals & Mining Producers (PICK) has posted a total return (including dividends) of 107.71%.
DVP charges 0.39% in annual fees.
3. ETFS Physical Palladium (PALL) — up 57.88%
2016 has been palladium’s time to shine.
PALL is one of the only ways that you can invest in the metal without holding a futures contract on palladium.
While futures contracts are available on palladium, they are inherently more expensive and risky than just holding the physical metal.
That’s why PALL tracks the spot price of palladium bullion by investing in actual bars of palladium bullion held in London and Zurich.
PALL versus the S&P 500 over the last 12 months.
Palladium is highly correlated to the car industry and is very cyclical.
Over the past 12 months, ETFS Physical Palladium (PALL) is up 57.88%.
PALL charges 0.60% in annual fees.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about the reasons why the U.S. stock market is slowly disappearing.
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