August is halfway over and it's clear that broader equity benchmarks are doing their best to defy historically long odds of success in the eighth month of the year.
While the S&P 500 is off to an admirable August start, some sector exchange-traded funds are on torrid paces. Investors willing to be tactical and embrace industry and thematic ETFs are being handsomely rewarded in the first half of August. Same goes for those willing to roll the dice on some previously beaten corners of the market.
Here are three of the ETF stars are the halfway point of August.
Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ)
The Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (NYSE:BETZ) entered Monday with a month-to-date gain of almost 16.3%, one that was extended by 2.24% as the fund raced to another new high yesterday.
BETZ is undoubtedly one of the success stories among new ETFs this year, hauling in $93 million in assets in just over two months on the market.
The performance of BETZ to start August is impressive under any circumstances, but even more so when considering the Big 10, PAC-12 and several Group of Five conferences postponed their 2020 college football seasons, meaning there will be fewer games for bettors to have action on, potentially impacting revenue for an array of BETZ holdings.
Still, the fund has near-term tailwinds, including expansion of iGaming, bettors enthusiasm for the NBA and NHL playoffs and the arrival of the NFL in a few weeks.
Invesco Solar ETF (TAN)
The Invesco Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN) added to its August ebullience Monday and is now higher by more than 17% month to date. TAN is now up 70% year to date in what is proving to be a banner year for renewable energy ETFs.
The solar ETF's Monday upside was impressive because it was accrued after a blistering hot weekend in California where some power companies are engaging in rolling blackouts. Some market observers are speculating that solar and wind aren't reliable and that's not economical for Golden State utility firms to keep fossil fuels plants running for just a few days of use.
More debate is likely on that front, but led by TAN, six of the top 20 ETFs on a month-to-date basis are clean energy funds.
UBS ETRACS Alerian Natural Gas MLP Index ETN (MLPG)
Not all energy-related exchange-traded notes are causing investors heartache this month. The UBS ETRACS Alerian Natural Gas MLP Index ETN (NYSE:MLPG) is up more than 15% this month, trailing just BETZ and TAN among U.S.-listed ETFs.
There's some risk here as MLPG yields 17.19%, but in better news, of the top 27 ETFs month to date, nine, including MLPG, have ties to the traditional energy sector.