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It looks like it pays to keep an eye on the dogs of yesterday.

Blogger Michael Johnston has done a performance tally of U.S.-listed exchange-traded funds for the first quarter, and has found that many of yesterday's dogs were star performers.

Six of the best gainers in the first three months were ETFs focused on financials, homebuilders, airlines, mortgage finance, Japan and real estate. They were among the biggest decliners during the recent downturn, and a number remain well below all-times highs, notes the co-founder and senior analyst on the website ETF Database.

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"The impressive rebounds from these ETFs illustrates a principle that has been hammered home to most investors," writes Mr. Johnston. "Volatility is indeed a two-way street. Those punished most severely on the way down have become the biggest gainers on the way back up, and investors who stuck with these investments (or jumped in at the market bottom) have been handsomely rewarded."

What about Canadian-listed ETFs? We'll be looking at how they did in a fund cruncher next Monday in Report on Business.

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