This past year has been marked by uncertainty, but nothing compared to recent years, prompting investors to return in droves from safe haven accounts to the U.S. stock market. Investors have their eyes fixed on major indexes and other indicators to judge the overall health of our economy, but another judge of market sentiment is watching which ETFs have taken off since last year. Needless to say, some industries have evolved with the changing economic climate, while others have fallen far behind [For updates on all new ETFs, sign up for the free ETFdb newsletter].
Below, we highlight a handful of ETFs that have surged over the past three years (note that inverse and leveraged ETFs are excluded from this list; see the best and worst ETFs over the past three years including leveraged and inverse):
|THD||MSCI Thailand Index Fund||100.2%|
|SIVR||Physical Silver Shares||76.8%|
- MSIC Thailand Index Fund (THD, B), Up 100.2%: This emerging market has taken off like no one would have believed possible three years ago. With 100% return, iShares’s decision to invest in this once small and broken South Asian economy has paid off in a big way. This fund, which seeks to measure the performance of the Thai equity market, has over 80 holdings, and features a tilt to the booming financial sector.
- Dynamic Pharmaceuticals (PJP, B-), Up 95.8%: Profiting from the recent focus in healthcare, PJP is designed to provide capital appreciation by thoroughly evaluating companies based on a variety of investment criteria to ensure growth and consistency. Of the 30 companies included,investors can find industry leaders such as Gilead Sciences, Eli Lily, Merck and Abbott Labs [see Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio].
- Physical Silver Shares (SIVR, B), Up 76.8%: While many investors seek out gold in times of economic uncertainty, silver has finished on top over the last three years. This metal is not only a powerful hedge, but since it is more volatile than gold it may perform even better in times of economic uncertainty [see Commodity Guru ETFdb Portfolio].
Below are three of the biggest non-leveraged losers over the past year:
|VXX||S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN||-95.4%|
|KWT||Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF||-86.4%|
|GAZ||DJ-UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN||-75.6%|
- S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX, B+), Down 95.4%: Not only has this ETN performed poorly in the last three years, it is one of the worst ETFs over the last year. In the right economic climate this ETN was meant to profit from the volatility of the S&P alone by offering exposure to a daily rolling long position in VIX futures contracts [see Free Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
- Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT, C+), Down 86.4%: Another loser in the both the long and short term, KWT also has a place with the worst performers over the last 52 weeks. The underlying index for this ETF provides exposure to publicly-traded companies from around the world that derive at least two-thirds of their revenues from solar power products and services. Other solar ETFs have done just as poorly, including Guggenheim’s TAN, which has also shown abysmal performance over the last three years.
- DJ-UBS Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN (GAZ, B-), Down 75.6%: Natural gas has proven to be a great investment for vigilant and careful investors in the short term. But holding a fund like GAZ for too long has led to trouble and huge loses. By holding a single natural gas contract at a time, it really is the luck of the draw with this fund, and over the last the last three years their have been more down days then up.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.