Much of the month was spent waiting on the Federal Reserve’s announcement in mid-December where many investors anticipated a gradual rate hike regiment as recent employment numbers suggested the economy was on a solid footing.
While the Fed decided on raising benchmark rates, policy makers reassured markets that additional rate hikes will come at a gradual pace. The equities market rallied after the uncertainty was lifted, but soon calmed down as many anticipated slower but steadier growth ahead.
Natural gas also saw a surge in the last weeks of December after a winter cold finally moved across the East Coast. [Natural Gas ETFs Blaze Ahead]
Moreover, clean or renewable energy sectors also rallied this month after Congress decided to extend subsidies to further support the nascent technology in a bid to counteract rising greenhouse gases. [Solar ETFs Get Unexpected Hand from Congress]
Meanwhile, the price collapse in the oil market continued after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to allow oil production to go on at its high pace. U.S. equities also remained on shaky grounds toward the end of the year as weakening commodity prices, notably oil, dragged on the producer sectors.
Top performing non-leveraged ETPs over the past month include the iPath Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: GAZ) up 25.3%, Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEArca: TAN) up 17.1% and PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (NYSEArca: PBW) up 11.8%.
The worst performing non-leveraged ETPs of the month include YMLP down 27.4%, First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (NYSEArca: FCG) down 26.6% and iPath Pure Beta Energy ETN (NYSEArca: ONG) down 24.8%.
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Max Chen contributed to this article.