Though U.S. equities charged ahead in 2013, posting several all-time record highs, certain markets across the globe struggled to stay out of the red. Emerging market countries in particular took a brutal beating throughout the year, as stagnant economic growth and currency struggles battered the once lucrative corner of the stock market. Meanwhile, European countries managed to gain traction in 2013, slowly recovering from the the debt-crisis [see Best and Worst Sector ETFs of 2013].
There were, however, some surprising standouts this year. Though China’s economy struggled in 2013, the nation’s technology sector managed to post strong gains, making the China Technology ETF (CQQQ, B-) and the NASDAQ China Technology ETF (QQQC, C) some of the best performers of the year. The Golden Dragon Halter USX China Portfolio (PGJ, B), which invests in U.S. listed stocks that derive a majority of their revenue from China, came in as the year’s top performer.
Not surprisingly, equities from other emerging market countries came in at the bottom of the barrel. The India Small-Cap Index ETF (SCIF, B), Market Vectors Brazil Small-Cap ETF (BRF, A-), and the MSCI Brazil Small-Cap ETF (EWZS, A-) all logged in losses exceeding 28% in 2013 [see Best & Worst Bond ETFs of 2013].
Below, we highlight 2013’s best and worst Country ETF performers (data as of December 19, 2013):