Worst Performing ETFs Of The Year

This year’s Teflon market has fooled the naysayers and delivered strong returns for most ETF investors. With the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) up by more than 17% in a little over six months, it’s been hard to go wrong in the markets.

Earlier this week, we highlighted some of the best of the U.S.-listed ETFs this year. With so many ETFs performing well, it was understandably tough to make the top performers list.

A solar ETF, the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN), with more than 50% returns, and an IPO fund, the Renaissance IPO ETF (IPO), with returns of 35%, bookended the list, but there are countless other funds doing exceptionally well this year.

It’s not surprising then that there aren’t that many funds doing poorly in 2019. In fact, of the ETFs that were around at the end of last year, only about a tenth of them are down on a year-to-date basis.

That group is what we will be looking at in this article, the worst-performing ETFs of the year.

Doomed By Aggressive Bets

As is typically the case, the worst-performing ETFs are either leveraged, inverse or VIX products (or some combination of the three). This year is no exception. The VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (TVIX), the Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3x Shares (SOXS) and the United States 3x Short Oil Fund (USOD) are among the worst-performing ETFs, doomed by their aggressive bets on or against volatile areas of the markets.


Worst Performing ETFs Of 2019 (all-encompassing)

Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through July 9.


Pakistan ETF Tumbles

The table below strips out the leveraged, inverse and VIX products, resulting in an interesting group of poor-performing funds. These funds, which only take standard long positions with no leverage, have dropped between 4.3% and 16.5% so far this year, underperforming the broader markets.


Worst-Performing ETFs Of 2019 (excluding inverse/leveraged/VIX products)

Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through July 9.


The Global X MSCI Pakistan ETF (PAK) headlines this inglorious list. Tepid economic growth and a $6 billion IMF bailout that could spur government belt tightening have given investors little reason to bargain hunt in beaten-up Pakistani stocks.

The country’s economy is barely growing above 2%, and there is nothing on the horizon for investors to get excited about, except maybe a downgrade of Pakistani shares by MSCI from “emerging markets” to “frontier markets” status, a move that could ironically spur more inflows into the country’s stocks, according to Bloomberg.

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