After starting the year in line with the overall market, technology stocks began pulling ahead in February and are now in positive territory for the year.

QQQQ

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The technology heavy PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ) is up over 4% year to date through April 3 while the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) is down nearly 9% over the same time period.

QQQQ top holdings include AppleQUALCOMMMicrosoftGoogle,Oracle and Cisco Systems.

Part of the reason for the outperformance is that technology earnings have held up better than expected.  RIM surprised investors on Friday with strong results that the BlackBerry maker predicted would continue.

The prospect of M&A activity is also driving tech stocks higher as IBM nears a deal to buy Sun Microsystems.

For more, see the ETF Directory for a complete listing of Industry ETFs.