As we round out 2013, the equities market and stock exchange traded funds are finishing on a high note, with the Doe Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 both touching new all-time highs in calm trading.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 29.1% gain over 2013. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite increased 37.6% and the S&P 500 rose 31.9%.
The top non-leveraged ETFs over 2013 include the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEArca: TAN) up 131.8%, Market Vectors Solar Energy (NYSEArca: KWT) up 104.5% and First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index Fund (Nasdaq: QCLN) up 94.1%.
In stark contrast to the underperformance in 2012, alternative energy stocks surged in 2013, with solar energy panel providers leading the pack. The industry is expanding on growing public awareness for clean energy sources and consumers trying to capitalize on short-term government subsidies for new photovoltaic panel installations. [Solar ETFs Look for 2014 Sequel]
Additionally, Elon Musk’s Tesla (NasdaqGM: TSLA), the largest holding in QCLN, has also helped bring the clean energy ETF into the limelight, rising 350% over 2013.
Bringing up the rear, the worst performing non-leveraged funds for the year include C-Tracks on Citi Volatility Index ETN (NYSEArca: CVOL) down 88.3%, VelocityShares Daily Long VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSEArca: VIIX) down 66.5% and ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (NYSEArca: VIXY) down 66.4%, as volatility declined in a risk-on, bullish rally in the equities market.
Next page: December performance report