Top Performing ETFs Of 2018

January 03, 2019

Cocoa & Saudi ETFs Rally

Stripping out the leveraged, inverse and VIX products results in a list of top-performing ETFs that have smaller-but-still-stellar returns.

Commodity products, such as the iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN (NIB), the ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (PALL) and the United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund LP (UNL) were all solidly in the green.

Meanwhile, even with the fallout from the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF (KSA) rallied 13.1% in 2018. Another Mideast fund, the iShares MSCI Qatar ETF (QAT), also did well, returning 20%.

 

Top-Performing ETFs Of 2018 (excluding inverse/volatility/VIX ETPs)

Ticker Fund % Return
NIB  iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN 23.05
QAT  iShares MSCI Qatar ETF 20.07
PALL  ETFS Physical Palladium Shares 17.23
PSJ  Invesco Dynamic Software ETF 16.38
IHI  iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF 15.46
BTAL  AGFiQ U.S. Market Neutral Anti-Beta Fund 15.11
XWEB  SPDR S&P Internet ETF 13.95
KSA  iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF 13.07
UNL United States 12 Month Natural Gas Fund LP 12.53
IGV  iShares North American Tech-Software ETF 12.45
GULF  WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund 11.15
IHF  iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF 9.58
PSCH  Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF 9.15
XHE  SPDR S&P Health Care Equipment ETF 8.91
PTNQ  Pacer Trendpilot 100 ETF 8.51

Tables data measure total annual returns for 2018.

 

Health Care Outperforms

Rounding out the top performers list was a handful of industry ETFs. With health care being the No. 1 stock market sector of the year, unsurprisingly, some funds targeting that group made the cut.

The iShares U.S. Medical Devices ETF (IHI), the iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers ETF (IHF) and the Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF (PSCH) returned more than 9% each.

On the other hand, even though the technology sector as a whole fell in 2018, there were some niche tech ETFs that were positive. Those included the Invesco Dynamic Software ETF (PSJ), the SPDR S&P Internet ETF (XWEB) and the iShares Expanded Tech-Software ETF (IGV).

Rounding out the top performers list were two alternative ETFs. One is the AGFiQ U.S. Market Neutral Anti-Beta Fund (BTAL), which goes long low-beta stocks and shorts high-beta stocks—a market-neutral strategy that paid off in 2018’s risk adverse environment.

The other is the Pacer Trendpilot 100 ETF (PTNQ), a trend-following ETF that goes long Nasdaq-100 stocks when they are above the 200-day moving average and switches to cash when the 200-day moving average turns lower.

Email Sumit Roy at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter sumitroy2

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