Studs And Duds: Best And Worst From Our All-ETF Model Portfolios

by on December 25, 2011

2011 has rattled investors’ confidence as sluggish economic growth in the developed world was complemented with resurfacing European debt woes and deficit drama on the home front. With clouds of uncertainty gathering on all fronts, investors have been scrambling for safe haven exposure, although volatile trading has plagued virtually every corner of the market. Unfavorable market conditions have taken their toll on many of our all-ETF model portfolios; however, some of our portfolios have turned in rather impressive year-to-date performances amidst the overwhelming turmoil.

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Many of our model portfolios feature products which have launched this year, thus limiting the availability of historical performance data. Below we recap how our ETFdb Portfolios have held up during one of the wildest years for financial markets, highlighting the best and worst performers year-to-date (returns as of 12/22/2011):

Retirement ETFdb Portfolios

This year has been rough even for conservative investors, judging from the fact that over half of our retirement themed portfolios have posted lackluster returns. It’s not much of a surprise to see our Ready To Retire portfolio at the top of the performance list; this ETFdb portfolio has been able to outperform major equity indexes thanks to its tilt towards several fixed income ETFs which have turned in solid performances during a gloomy. Likewise, our Aggressive portfolio has fared the worst given its equity-heavy portfolio composition.

ETFdb Portfolio YTD Return
Ready To Retire 4.82%
5 Years Til Retirement 1.67%
Moderate -0.10%
10 Years Til Retirement -0.42%
20 Years Til Retirement -2.67%
30 Years Til Retirement -3.71%
Aggressive -7.10%
Cheapskate n/a
Low Volatility n/a

Regional ETFdb Portfolios

Emerging markets have been beat down severely this year thanks to economic uncertainties stemming from the developed world. Additionally, growth appears to be simmering down in China, which has sparked worries that global economic output would shrink along with a decrease in demand for commodities. Our Ex-Europe portfolio is at the top of the list thanks to its lack of exposure to the debt burdened currency bloc. On the other end of the spectrum, our Africa-Centric portfolio has endured a tough year as ongoing geopolitical tensions in the Middle-East have discouraged investments in this lucrative region of the world.

ETFdb Portfolio YTD Return
Ex-Europe -2.63%
Ex-U.S. -13.17%
Emerging & Frontier Markets -14.85%
Africa-Centric -24.15%
LatAm-Centric n/a
Easy-As-ABC n/a
Asia-Centric n/a
Euro Free Europe n/a
Global Titans n/a

Themed ETFdb Portfolios

Our Simple (But Effective) Safe Haven portfolio takes home the first place prize, clinching a robust gain in an otherwise dismal year for stock markets. The Simple (But Effective) Safe Haven portfolio has been able to hold its ground and even profit from all of the volatility in the markets, given its unique blend of asset classes, making for a well-rounded portfolio that is sure to please even the most defensive-minded investors. Our High Yield portfolio has also turned in a solid performance as demand for dividend paying securities has surged, with many investors opting for stable current income sources in lieu or riskier capital gains opportunities. With uncertainty lurking in every nook and corner of the market, it’s not much of a surprise to see our ultra-defensive Sky Is Falling portfolio also at the top of the performance list for the year. Our RAFI portfolio sits at the bottom of the barrel as the alternative weighting methodology has struggled to keep pace with more popular market cap-weighted funds.

ETFdb Portfolio YTD Return
Simple (But Effective) Safe Haven 6.14%
High Yield 3.86%
The Sky Is Falling 3.10%
Black Swan Hyperinflation -4.02%
High-Tax Bracket -2.17%
Alpha Seeker 2.0 -2.17%
RAFI -11.45%
Actively Managed n/a
AlphaDEX n/a
Ben Graham 50/50 n/a
Equal Weight n/a
Better-Than-AGG Total Bond Market n/a
Commodity Guru n/a
Energy Bull n/a
Cheapskate Hedge Fund n/a
Equal Weight n/a
Futures Free Commodity n/a
High Tech n/a
Kitchen Sink n/a
Small Cap n/a

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.