Major equity indexes on the home front continued their ascent in 2014, much to the bears’ growing frustrations. Amid the run-up, the fairly short-lived periods of profit-taking served as buying opportunities throughout the year. These rounds of selling saw volatility levels spike more than they did the previous year, perhaps showcasing the increasingly cautious nature of investors in light of the stellar five-year bull run seen thus far [see also The Best and Worst Sector ETFs of 2014].
Below, we break down the best and worst performing strategies from our All-ETF Portfolio lineup to see how they stacked up against one another as well as the broader market. Please note that all returns are as of 12/19/2014, and at the time of writing, the S&P 500 Index was up 11.8% on the year.
The Best Performers
The domestic health care and technology sectors beat the broad equity market by a wide margin in 2014, helping to propel our two sector-themed portfolios to the top of the returns rankings. Among the biggest winners were several retirement-themed portfolios, and it’s worth noting that those with a more aggressive allocation towards equities came out ahead. Two yield-focused portfolios, the Monthly Dividend and High Yield one, also turned in solid performances on the year as dividend-paying securities remained in the spotlight amid the low-rate environment.
The Worst Performers
Fears over lackluster growth prospects in Brazil, China, and Russia, coupled with an anemic recovery taking place in Europe, paved the way lower for many foreign equity markets in 2014. Among the underperformers were commodity-themed portfolios as well, largely due to the fact that this asset class endured headwinds from a rising U.S. dollar matched with lackluster global growth. More specifically, energy-related assets were in the limelight as selling pressures in the crude oil futures market intensified near the end of the year.
The table below lists the YTD return for only those portfolios included above; see all 50+ ETFdb Model Portfolios:
|ETFdb Portfolio||YTD Return|
|20 Years Til Retirement||9.27%|
|Alpha Seeker 2.0||8.96%|
|30 Years Til Retirement||8.69%|
|5 Years Til Retirement||8.21%|
|10 Years Til Retirement||8.21%|
|Ready To Retire||8.11%|
|Black Swan Hyperinflation||-10.96%|
|Futures Free Commodity||-11.40%|
|Euro Free Europe||-12.38%|
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.