Stock ETFs were deep in the red Wednesday after the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting threw cold water on speculation the central bank is gearing up to unleash another wave of quantitative easing.

Equity ETFs posted stellar results for the first quarter of 2012, supported by the favorable performance of the S&P 500 Index. The index had a positive total return of 12.6%, with about 300 ETFs outperforming the S&P in the first three months of the year.

“The positive returns from equity ETFs were broad based. Among equity ETFs classified as having more of a domestic stock emphasis, 334 were in positive territory, along with 273 equity ETFs that had more of a global or international emphasis,” Tom Graves, CFA of S&P Capital IQ Equity Research,  wrote in a recent MarketScope article.

“Among the 52 ETFs with a total return of 20%, S&P Capital IQ’s MarketScope Advisor database identified 34 of them as having a sector influence, including 12 in financials, 10 in information technology, and six in consumer discretionary,” Graves wrote.

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