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NUMBER CRUNCHER

Natural gas ETF gets some A/C relief Add to ...

What are we looking for?

The biggest money makers and money losers among Canadian-listed exchange-traded funds in the second quarter.

The screen

We ranked the eight best and worst performers for the three months ended June 30. ETFs that can short or bet against a sector, and leveraged ETFs, which can amplify long and short bets on the market, were excluded.

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What did we find?

A heat wave boosting returns for the quarter’s star ETF.

The iShares Natural Gas Commodity ETF, which has struggled in recent times amid depressed commodity prices, gained a robust 17 per cent in the quarter to lead the money makers. Unlike stock-based ETFs battered by rocky markets, this commodity fund provides exposure to the Alberta natural gas market by investing in forward contracts.

“The gas market was up strongly in the second quarter as warm weather increased the amount of energy consumed by North American air conditioners,” said Oliver McMahon, director of product management for iShares ETFs at BlackRock Canada.

The quarterly gain, however, wasn’t enough to pull the ETF out of red ink this year. It ended the first six months with a 31-per-cent loss.

ETFs tracking real estate investment trusts continued to deliver returns for yield-hungry investors. As the resource-heavy Canadian stock market struggled, BMO Equal Weight REITs ETF and iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT, respectively, rose 5 and 4.8 per cent.

The biggest loser was the iShares S&P/TSX Venture ETF, which tracks an index of mostly junior energy and mining stocks. It shed 24 per cent in the quarter, and is off almost 17 per cent for six months.

Shares of junior oil companies were hurt as the price of crude fell sharply amid a cooling global economy. BMO Junior Oil ETF lost 18 per cent in the quarter.

Other smaller-company names sold off as risk aversion took over among investors because of uncertainly from the euro zone debt crisis and concerns about slower growth in China. BMO S&P/TSX Equal Weight Global Base Metals ETF lost nearly 24 per cent, too.

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Best and worst: How Canadian-listed ETFs fared in the second quarter

Fund Symbol Category MER
Top 8
iShares Natural Gas Commodity Index GAS-T Misc. - Commodity 0.92
BMO Long Federal Bond Index ETF ZFL-T Cdn. Long Term Fixed Income 0.23
BMO Global Infrastructure Index ETF ZGI-T Global Equity 0.61
BMO Equal Weight REITs Index ETF ZRE-T Real Estate Equity 0.62
iShares S&P/TSX Capped REIT Index XRE-T Real Estate Equity 0.55
PS L-Term Government Bnd ETF PGL-T Cdn. Long Term Fixed Income 0.25
iShares Glo Real Estate Idx Common CGR-T Real Estate Equity 0.72
PS S&P 500 Low Vol (CAD Hedged) ETF ULV-T U.S. Equity N/A
Bottom 8

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