3-Year Review: Best & Worst ETFs Across The Globe

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In recent years, bullish momentum has been an undeniable force on Wall Street. Across the globe, however, this has not necessarily been the case. With funds flowing out of emerging market equities, and the euro debt crisis weighing heavily on several developed economies, certain corners of the world have not fared as well. Despite this, investors have still managed to capture lucrative returns from the foreign equities space [see 25 Wild ETF Charts From 1H 2013]. 

Below, we highlight a handful of ETFs across each region that have performed well over the past three years, as well as those that have struggled to keep up with the equity market’s quick pace (note that inverse and leveraged ETFs are excluded from this list – data as of 08/06/13):

Africa & Middle East: Gulf States Catch Fire; Egypt and Israel Stocks Struggle

From the Africa and Middle East equity markets, the funds targeting countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have performed well over the trailing three-year period, with MES and GULF both gaining nearly 40%. Equities from Egypt and Israel (EGPT and EIS), however, struggled to gain ground.

Broad & Developed Asia-Pacific: Financials, Real Estate, and Currency-Hedged ETFs Deliver; Australian Small Caps Slip

In the broad and developed Asia-Pacific space, the financials sector (FEFN, B) came out on top, rising more than 37% over the last three years. Wisdom Tree’s Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ, B) and the Asian real estate ETF  (IFAS, B) also posted stellar returns. The small cap Australia fund (KROO), however, slipped nearly 12% [see 3-Year Review: Best & Worst ETFs In Each Sector].

Emerging Asia Pacific: Thailand and Malaysia Outperform; India and China Fall Behind

Out of emerging Asia, equities from Thailand (THD, B+) and Malaysia  (EWM, A) delivered stellar returns. Considering the significant economic slowdowns seen in China and India, however, it is not surprising to see funds like SCIN and CHIM come in at the bottom of the barrel.

Europe: Ireland And Switzerland Post Stellar Returns; Italy, Russia, and

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Best & Worst ETFs
Spain Suffer Losses

Though several years ago Ireland’s (EIRL, B) financial state seemed rather dire, equities from the country have since  managed to post stellar returns. The Switzerland (EWL, A) and Europe Small Cap Dividend Funds  (DFE, A-) also came out on top among European ETFs. Not surprisingly, however, the Italy (EWI), Russia (RSX), and Spain (EWP) funds struggled to stay out of the red [see Euro Free Europe Portfolio].

Latin America: Mexico ETF Delivers; Brazil Equities Tank

Across the board, Latin American equities have struggled to gain ground over the past three years. The Mexico ETF (EWW, A), however, managed to post an over 35% return, while the majority of Brazil-focused funds logged in double digit losses.

North America: Biotechs and Pharma Skyrocket; Volatility and Mining ETFs Tumble

Out of the over 650 North America-targeted ETFs, biotechnology funds have delivered stellar returns over the trailing three-year period; Van Eck’s Market Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH, B) has gained an incredible 152%. Volatility and mining ETFs, however, took a steep tumble [see 6 ETFs Up After Earnings Season].

Follow me on Twitter @DPylypczak.

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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