Most Searched ETFs: Scintillating Sectors

Since the start of our endeavor to examine weekly ETF search data and trends, which commenced earlier this year, there have been weeks where sector funds have dominated.

This is one of those weeks and what is even more important is the depth and variety of sector ETFs that were widely searched by investors this week. One group that was widely searched, and it should not come as a surprise, was energy.

Due to poor demand fundamentals, the United States Oil Fund (NYSEArca: USO) slumped 2.2% on the week and that was with the benefit of an 1% gain on Friday. Earlier this week after the International Energy Agency projected lower oil demand for 2014, pointing to lower-than-expected second quarter growth in developed economies. [Fundamentals Plague Oil ETFs]

However, USO was not one of the most searched energy ETFs this week. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) was despite an almost 1% drop. XLE’s leadership among the week’s most searched ETFs is not surprising. After all, no sector ETF has added more new assets this year than XLE, the largest energy ETF. Energy ETFs have added about $6.8 billion in new assets this year. [Energy ETFs Raking in Cash]

Sticking with the energy theme, two master limited partnership (MLP) ETFs make appearances on this week’s most searched list. The Global X MLP & Energy Infrastructure ETF (NYSEArca: MLPX) and the actively managed First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund (NYSEArca: EMLP) gained 1.8% and 2.6%, respectively, this week.

MLPX and EMLP benefited from exposure to various securities involved in Kinder Morgan Inc.’s consolidation of its sprawling energy infrastructure empire, the second-largest U.S. energy sector acquisition(s) ever. EMLP was seen hitting a series of new all-time highs throughout the week. [Kinder Morgan Deal Good for These ETFs]

Other sector ETFs making appearances on this week’s list include familiar faces such as the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV). XLV is now the top-performing of the nine sector SPDR ETFs this year and investors have poured nearly $728 million into the fund just this month. [Investors Still Love Health Care ETFs]

XLV was not the only health care ETF heavily searched this week. The First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (NYSEArca: FBT) jumped 4.2% on the week, squashing the hopes of biotech bears that still believe down is the path of least resistance.

Increased searches for FBT prompted the same scenario for the First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF (NasdaqGS: FV), of which FBT is the largest holding.