The third-quarter earnings season has, overall, been going better than many analysts have expected. As luck would have it, there are a multitude of ways to get exposure to this season’s winners via exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Although several sectors have notched strong third-quarter performance, the ones listed below are among the standouts. For more stories on sector ETFs, visit our sector ETF category.:

1. Technology. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is the latest big tech name to post strong earnings. The maker of the popular iPhone posted a 47% gain in profit, taking investors and analysts by surprise. Shares were up 5.4% as of Tuesday, reports Jessica Mintz for the Associated Press.

Other technology companies posted strong earnings, as well. (Read about them here).

  • Technology Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLK): up 40.3% year-to-date; Apple 8.1%

  • FirstTrust NASDAQ -100 Tech Index (NYSEArca: QTEC): up 67.6% year-to-date; Apple 2.7%

2. Pharmaceuticals. The sector came out a winner in the health care bill that went through the finance committee last week. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) reported a 26% higher profit, but lower sales. The world’s largest drug maker posted net income of $2.88 billion, or 43 cents a share, even as many patents have been expiring, reports Val Kennedy for MarketWatch.

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare (NYSEArca: IYH): up 14.2% year-to-date; Pfizer is 10.6%

  • Vanguard Health Care (NYSEArca: VHT): up 15.3% year-to-date; Pfizer is  7.5%

3. Fast Food. McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) have weathered the recession nicely, as price-aware consumers stop going out to sit-down restaurants. Yum Brands has continues to thrive; its third-quarter earnings rose 18% thanks to lower costs that helped the company earn a profit in both the United States and China. McDonald’s announces earnings on Thursday.

  • PowerShares Dynamic Food And Beverage (NYSEArca: PBJ): up 10.8% year-to-date; Yum 4.7%; McDonald’s 4.5%

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.