The Best and Worst Performing Dividend ETFs of 2014

by on December 15, 2014 | ETFs Mentioned:

2014 took investors on another wild ride, as markets continued their impressive bull run. Despite a slump in October that had many calling for a prolonged correction, equities resumed their bullish pattern and are up over 12% for the year. It was also a year where dividend-paying ETFs remained in the limelight. Though the Fed has hinted at raising rates, there still is no definitive timeline for when rates will climb from their near-zero levels. With that in mind, investors have been searching for yield to add a steady income stream to their portfolios [for more ETF news and analysis subscribe to our free ETFdb Daily Roundup]. 

Below, we outline the best and worst performing dividend ETFs this year. Note that the funds chosen are classified as dividend-focused and not simply ones that pay a dividend.

The Best Performers


With equity markets charging forward, two leveraged funds take the top spot in 2014. Note that while these funds can provide stellar returns in bear markets, they have the potential for big losses in bear stretches. All 10 of these ETFs outperformed the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), all while providing a dividend-focused strategy for investors [see also The Best and Worst Performing Dividend ETFs of 2013].

The Worst Performers


The U.S. may have had a relatively strong year, but the story was completely different overseas. None of the 10 worst performers were U.S.-focused funds, but instead honed in on emerging markets or other countries overseas.

The table below lists each ETF in the above charts:

ETF YTD Return
ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged Dow Jones Select Dividend Index ETN (DVYL) 21.42%
ETRACS Monthly Pay 2x Leveraged S&P Dividend ETN (SDYL) 20.38%
Ultra Dividend Fund (RDIV) 17.84%
S&P 500 High Dividend Portfolio (SPHD) 16.90%
SuperDividend U.S. ETF (DIV) 14.93%
Equity Income ETF (EQIN) 14.01%
High Yield Dividend Achievers (PEY) 13.84%
Value Line Dividend Index Fund (FVD) 12.36%
Sector Dividend Dogs ETF (SDOG) 12.17%
S&P 500 Aristocrats ETF (NOBL) 12.02%
Australia Dividend Fund (AUSE) -9.27%
SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (EDIV) -9.70%
Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFE) -9.81%
S&P Global Dividend Opportunities Index ETF  (LVL) -10.09%
International SmallCap Fund (DLS) -10.49%
iShares Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (DVYE) -10.91%
Low Volatility Emerging Markets Dividend ETF (HILO) -14.43%
Commodity Country Equity Fund (CCXE) -14.91%
Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (DEM) -15.04%
Global Natural Resources Fund (GNAT) -24.06%

Follow me on Twitter @JaredCummans.

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Disclosure: All data as of 12/15/2014. No positions at time of writing.