Despite a brief Fed policy scare, U.S. stocks and equity-based exchange traded funds raced to all-time highs as the easy money fueled rally continued through the third quarter. However, the euphoria waned near quarter’s end on fears of a looming U.S. government shutdown and political volatility in Italy,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.5% over the past three months. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite increased 11.2% and the S&P 500 rose 6.5%.

Both the S&P 500 ended at a historic high of 1,725.52 and the Dow also ended at an all-time high of 15,676.94 in mid-September after the Fed unexpectedly announced no changes to its monthly bond purchasing program.

The top non-leveraged ETFs in the third quarter include the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NSYEArca: TAN) up 40.9%, PowerShares Golden Dragon China Portfolio (NYSEArca: PGJ) up 36.6% and Global X Social Media Index ETF (NYSEArca: SOCL) up 34.9%.

The solar industry has been the best performing area of the markets this year, which provides a sharp contrast to the sectors underperformance last year. Demand for photovoltaic cells is rising, with the Chinese government stepping up to help this fledgling industry. [They Don’t Need It, But Solar ETFs Get More Good News]

After the slight pullback in summer, Chinese stocks are bouncing back. The Chinese economy still provides attractive growth relative to developed economies. Recent manufacturing activity showed economic expansion at a 6-month high. [China ETFs Quietly Becoming Go-To Performers]

In the tech sector, social media names are also gaining momentum. Social media is also a play on growing Internet use, particularly in emerging countries. [Gain Exposure to All the Big Social Media Names with One ETF]

Over the third quarter, the worst performing non-leveraged ETFs include C-Tracks on Citit Volatility Index ETN (NYSEArca: CVOL) down 51.0%, VelocityShares Daily Long VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSEArca: VIIX) down 32.9% and ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEArca: VIXY) down 31.8%.

Next page: September performance