Posted on 02/06/2012
After a January like the one we have just experienced, we can all only hope that the old market adage, "As goes January, so goes the rest of the year" rings true. January of 2012 was the best performing January since 1997 for the S&P 500 Index (SPX), as it posted a gain of 4.36%. In fact, much of global equity space performed nicely over the last month. Some of the notable benchmarks and their January returns include: the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), up 3.40%; the MSCI EAFE Index (EAFE), up 4.84%; and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MSCIEMERGE) gaining 9.80%.
We have compiled a few "Best and Worst" tables for additional perspective as to the specific winners and losers of January. We, Dorsey, Wright, and Associates, have created and tracked 40 sectors, where each sector contains well-known and large cap companies. Among the DWA 40 sector groups, industries within the broad Technology group and Basic Materials occupied the top 5 spots, with Biomedics coming out on top with gains of more than 22% last month. Utilities, both Electric and Gas, were found among the worst of performers.
To get a glimpse into individual ETF performance that provide exposure to the broad market, we look at all of the market-based ETFs excluding inverse and leverage. Occupying in the top spots are names invest in high beta stocks such as PowerShares S&P 500 High Beta Portfolio (SPHB), Russell 1000 High Beta ETF (HBTA), and Russell 2000 High Beta ETF (SHBT). In the bottom of the heap are ETFs with low volatility or anti-beta.
Finally, we used the country-based ETFs to identify the leaders and laggards within the international equity space, where one of the newest additions to the international ETF product lineup took the top spot; Global X's Greece ETF (GREK) was up more than 36%.