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Worst Performing ETFs Of The Year

Sumit Roy

Last week, we published lists of the top-performing ETFs of the year. A sizzling start to the year for the equity market translated into hefty double-digit gains for those funds, which included marijuana, China A-shares and oil ETFs.

Today we’re taking a look at the other side of the ledger, the worst performers. As usual, we have two lists: one that includes all U.S.-listed exchange-traded products and one that excludes leveraged, inverse and volatility products.

We had to strip out a whole bunch of ETFs to come up with the narrower ex-leveraged/inverse/volatility list. The vast majority of the products that performed poorly so far this year have a strategy of shorting (with or without leverage) areas of the market that have done well.

Without those products, it’s pretty hard to find ETFs that have cratered in 2019. In fact, with the exception of one fund, the other 19 worst performers each have losses of less than 10%. That’s not that bad.


Worst-Performing ETFs Of The Year (excluding inverse/leveraged/volatility)

Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through April 5.


Shipping ETF Tanks

The exception is the Breakwave Dry Bulk Shipping ETF (BDRY), far and away the worst-performing fund on our first list, with a 48.1% loss. BDRY is a one-year-old ETF that provides exposure to near-month dry bulk freight futures contracts.

Sagging prices for shipping commodities and futures curves in contango have taken a bite out of the fund, which only has $3 million in assets under management.

BDRY isn’t the only commodity-related ETF to take a dive this year. Agriculture products like the Teucrium Wheat Fund (WEAT), the Elements MLCX Grains Index-Total Return ETN (GRU) and the Teucrium Corn Fund (CORN) all made the worst-performers list.

Natural gas, silver and cocoa ETFs have also performed poorly so far in 2019.

Currency Losers

Outside of commodities, a few currency products made an appearance on the list. The Invesco CurrencyShares Swedish Krona Trust (FXS), the Invesco CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE), the Invesco CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust (FXF) and the Invesco CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) each shed 2-5% in the year-to-date period.

Despite indications that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to hike interest rates this year, the U.S. Dollar Index has edged up in 2019, weighing on rival currencies.

The Unadulterated List

Putting leveraged, inverse and volatility products back into the mix results in a completely different list than the one we’ve discussed. BDRY is the only ETF to make a repeat appearance, but even its losses pale in comparison with that of other products such as the VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (TVIX), the United States 3x Short Oil Fund (USOD) and the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares (LABD), among others.

For the full list, see the table below:


Worst-Performing ETFs Of The Year (all-encompassing)

Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through April 5.


Email Sumit Roy at sroy@etf.com or follow him on Twitter sumitroy2


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