Investors welcomed 2013 with a big rally on the first day of trading Wednesday after Washington managed to cobble together a deal on the U.S. fiscal cliff. Despite its ups-and-downs, especially during the choppy trading in the last month on the fiscal cliff drama, the markets and exchange traded funds experienced a strong 2012.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 10.2% gain over 2012. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite increased 15.9% and the S&P 500 rose 16%. [Ups and Downs for ETFs in 2012]
The top non-leveraged ETFs over 2012 include the iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction Fund (NYSEArca: ITB) up 79.4%, iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (NYSEArca: TUR) up 65.6% and Guggenheim China Real Estate ETF (NYSEArca: TAO) up 58.8%.
In what appears to be a recovering market, homebuilders and the housing sector has finally found their groove. Now, the sector is breaking out after the budget resolution. [Homebuilder ETFs Breaking Out on Budget Deal Optimism]
Now that Turkey has its finances in order, the country is working toward sustainable economic growth, which prompted ratings agencies to upgrade Turkish sovereign debt to investment grade last year. [Turkey ETF Outperforming in Emerging Markets]
China seems to have dodged the specter of a “hard-landing” as the government raised spending to augment its domestic growth and move away from an export heavy economy. Consequently, investors are returning to Chinese equities as a way to capture the country’s shift to sustainability. [China ETF Flirts with 52-Week High on Upbeat Manufacturing Data]
Positive economic data from manufacturing, retail and employment, along with the Fed’s commitment to extend its bond purchasing plan and low rates, all added to the broad market’s upward movement early in December.
However, with Congress dragging its feet and a stalemate among House Republicans, the equities market soured as investors anticipated the worst, heading in to the last weeks.
The markets ended 2012 on a high note after a five-day losing streak on word that Congress would be convening for the last Sunday to hash out a compromise. Nevertheless, stocks remained relatively flat over December, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.8%, the Nasdaq Composite was 0.3% higher and the S&P 500 was up 0.9%.
Last month, the top non-leveraged ETFs included Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEArca: TAN) up 19.6%, United States Metal Index Fund (NYSEArca: USMI) up 19.5% and Market Vectors China A-Shares ETF (NYSEArca: PEK) up 19.1%.
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Max Chen contributed to this article.