Though this year was largely marked by an insatiable bull-run, not every ETF was able to prosper. There were a select few segments in the market that struggled to stay afloat, dragging down a number of ETFs in the process. More specifically, precious metals and volatility had a pathetic outing in 2013, as a handful of funds tracking these asset classes were among the worst performing ETFs of the year. The losses in 2013 were especially painful given that the S&P 500 recorded its best annual performance in a decade, jumping 28%+ for the 12 month stretch.
Both asset classes largely took a hit due to surging stocks, as volatility almost always subsides in bull runs while precious metals tend to lose their safe haven appeal during fruitful markets. It should also be noted that this was the first negative annual return for gold in 12 years, breaking what was one of the longest bull runs in the financial world [for more ETF news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Below, we display the 15 worst performing ETFs of this year; please note this list excludes leveraged and inverse funds and returns are as of 12/27/2013:
2013's Worst Performing ETFs S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN (VXZ) -43.76% Junior Miners ETF (JUNR) -46.18% Global Gold and Precious Metals Portfolio (PSAU) -49.68% Silver Miners ETF (SIL) -50.82% MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF (SLVP) -50.89% iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (RING) -52.18% Pure Gold Miners ETF (GGGG) -53.29% Market Vectors TR Gold Miners (GDX) -53.77% PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF (SILJ) -53.98% Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ) -61.19% Gold Explorers ETF (GLDX) -62.33% VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY) -66.96% S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) -66.99% VIX Short-Term ETN (VIIX) -67.02% C-Tracks ETN Citi Volatility Index Total Return (CVOL) -88.42%
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.