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These ETF strategies won big in 2023. How one analyst sees them doing next


Hello! This is MarketWatch reporter Isabel Wang bringing you this week’s ETF Wrap. In this week’s edition, we look at ETF strategies that have exploded in popularity in 2023, and whether they will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead.

Please send tips or feedback to isabel.wang@marketwatch.com or to christine.idzelis@marketwatch.com. You can also follow me on X at @Isabelxwang and find Christine at @CIdzelis.

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U.S. exchange-traded funds have had a strong 2023, attracting around $580 billion in net inflows with assets climbing to a record $8.1 trillion as of December 27, according to FactSet data.

ETFs tracking the large-cap benchmark S&P 500 index
SPX,
which has risen 24.6% this year, have seen the strongest net inflows in 2023 among the nearly 700 funds MarketWatch tracks, according to FactSet data.

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust
SPY,
the world’s largest and oldest ETF with $493 billion assets under management, has recorded the largest net inflows of over $47 billion this year to date, followed by the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF’s
VOO
$41 billion and the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF’s
IVV
$36 billion over the same period, according to FactSet data. 

In terms of year-to-date performance, technology-related stock funds have shown a remarkable turnaround in 2023 after facing a tumultuous bear market the year before. Some of the ETFs tracking the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 index
NDX
as well as semiconductor stocks are on pace to finish 2023 with gains of more than 50%, thanks to the rise of the “Magnificent Seven” stocks.

The Fidelity Blue-Chip Growth ETF
FBCG
has jumped 58.7% in 2023 to become the best-performing U.S. fund, excluding ETNs and leveraged products, according to FactSet data. The WisdomTree U.S. Quality Growth Fund
QGRW
is up 56.2% this year, while the Invesco QQQ Trust Series I
QQQ
has risen 55.6% in 2023. Gains in all of these funds were fueled by a massive rally in mega-cap technology stocks such as Apple Inc.
AAPL,
+0.22%

and Nvidia Corp.
NVDA,
+0.21%
,
which have surged 49% and 239% this year, respectively, according to FactSet data. 

Will these ETF strategies continue to thrive in 2024? Will others emerge to deliver greater returns next year? Here’s how one CFRA ETF analyst sees things shaping up in the new year. 

Tech-driven growth ETFs will continue to stand out in 2024

The recent strong performance of technology and growth-driven ETFs is likely to continue in 2024, although with higher volatility, according to Aniket Ullal, senior vice president and head of ETF data and analytics at CFRA. 

The table below summarizes the best performing ETF sub-categories in 2023, excluding leveraged and inverse ETFs. The best ETF sectors have featured tech- and growth-related themes like fintech, cryptocurrency,…



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