Celebrating the Bull Market With ETFs

The bull market for U.S. stocks celebrates its sixth anniversary today and it has been quite a ride not only for U.S. equities, but some of the exchange traded funds that hold those stocks as well.

The U.S. exchange traded products industry hit a major milestone last year, eclipsing $2 trillion in assets under management. While it took nearly two decades for the ETF industry to reach $2 trillion in assets, it will not need nearly as long to get to $5 trillion, according to a new report by PwC. The PwC report says the global ETF industry will reach $5 trillion in combined AUM by 2020. [ETFs: No Stopping at $2 Trillion]

When the current bull market began in March 2009, there 588 non-leveraged ETFs on the market, nearly a third of which have topped the S&P 500 over that period. Of the top 10 non-leveraged ETFs since the bull market commenced, seven are sector funds. As of Dec. 26, 2014, there was $311.1 billion allocated to sector ETFs with energy ETFs accounting for $44.7 billion of that total, according to Bloomberg.

Perhaps not surprisingly, consumer discretionary and healthcare ETFs dominate the list of the 10 best non-leveraged ETFs since March 2009. Seven of those 10 funds are either consumer discretionary or healthcare ETFs, led by the First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (NYSEArca: FBT). A $10,000 investment in FBT, now the second-largest biotech ETF by assets, would have been worth nearly $73,000 as of March 5, according to Morningstar data. [A Fine ETF for Biotech M&A]

Of the broad market equity ETFs on that top 10 list, all three hail from the Guggenheim ETF suite, led by the Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Value ETF (NYSEArca: RPV). RPV targets the cheapest third of the S&P 500 Index and weights its holdings by the strength of their value characteristics,” according to Morningstar analyst Alex Bryan.

RPV is followed by the Guggenheim S&P Smallcap 600 Pure Value ETF (NYSEArca: RZV), which was one of the top-performing broad market equity ETFs in 2012 and 2013. A $10,000 investment in RZV in March 2009 has grown to over $67,000. The Guggenheim S&P MidCap 400 Pure Value ETF (NYSEArca: RFV) is also on the list.

Guggenheim has four ETFs on the top 10 since March 2009 list, double the amount of any other issuer. Of the top 50 non-leveraged ETFs since the start of the bull market six years ago, 10 are Guggenheim funds, including all six of the firm’s pure style ETFs.

Three of the firm’s equal-weight ETFs, including the Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSEArca: RCD) and the Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight Financial ETF (NYSEArca: RYF), are on the top 50 list as well. Having grown $10,000 into $61,600 since March 2009, RCD is the third-best non-leveraged sector ETF over that period.