Worst Performing ETFs Of 2018

January 04, 2019

An awful December pushed the U.S. stock market solidly into the red for 2018. When the ill-fated year came to a close, the S&P 500 found itself down 4.4%, its biggest loss since the financial crisis.

We outlined the performance of the S&P 500, the stock market sectors and all the major asset classes in our top-performing ETFs of 2018 article.

In that story, we included tables of the ETFs that did the very best in a negative year. Here we take a look at the other side of the ledger, the worst-performing.

Short VIX ETPs Demolished

Unsurprisingly, the threshold to make these lists was quite high (or low, depending how you look at it). The all-encompassing list, which is selected from the entire universe of U.S.-listed ETFs, features funds with losses from 56% to 92%.

A product that shorts the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), the ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (SVXY), topped the list. The ETF crumbled in February, pushed lower by the largest-ever one-day increase in the VIX.

Leveraged and inverse ETFs tied to natural gas, crude oil, biotech, regional banks and China also fared poorly in 2018.


Worst-Performing ETFs Of 2018 (all-encompassing)

Ticker Fund % Return
SVXY  ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF -91.75
GASL  Direxion Daily Natural Gas Related Bull 3X Shares -79.80
DGAZ  VelocityShares 3X Inverse Natural Gas ETN -78.49
GUSH  Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 3X Shares -74.28
NAIL  Direxion Daily Homebuilders & Supplies Bull 3X Shares -73.96
OILU  ProShares UltraPro 3x Crude Oil ETF -63.82
UWT  VelocityShares 3x Long Crude Oil ETN -63.69
WTIU  UBS ETRACS - ProShares Daily 3x Long Crude ETN -63.50
CWEB  Direxion Daily CSI China Internet Index Bull 2X Shares -63.01
USOU  United States 3x Oil Fund -62.08
HOML  ETRACS Monthly Reset 2xLeveraged ISE Exclusively Homebuilders ETN -60.28
KORU  Direxion Daily MSCI South Korea Bull 3X Shares -59.90
LABU  Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3X Shares -57.60
DPST  Direxion Daily Regional Banks Bull 3X Shares -56.75
EXIV  VelocityShares 1X Daily Inverse VSTOXX Futures ETN -56.71


Commodities & EM Swoon

The picture doesn’t look much brighter after stripping out leveraged, inverse and VIX products. This narrower list features ETFs with losses ranging from 31% to nearly 50%.

Commodity-focused funds like the VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (REMX) and the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF (XES) were the worst of this bunch.

Several other energy and emerging-market-related ETFs made up the rest of the list.

Worst-Performing ETFs Of 2018 (excluding leveraged/inverse/VIX ETPs)

Ticker Fund % Return
REMX  VanEck Vectors Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF -49.47
XES  SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF -46.99
OIH  VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF -44.98
PSCE  Invesco S&P SmallCap Energy ETF -42.98
IEZ  iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF -42.46
TUR iShares MSCI Turkey ETF -41.48
PXJ  Invesco Dynamic Oil & Gas Services ETF -39.82
CNXT VanEck Vectors ChinaAMC SME-ChiNext ETF -39.48
SCIF  VanEck Vectors India Small-Cap Index ETF -37.41
SCIN  Columbia India Small Cap ETF -36.31
ASHS  Xtrackers Harvest CSI 500 China-A Shares Small Cap ETF -35.91
CQQQ  Invesco China Technology ETF -34.77
KWEB  KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF -33.88
AGT  iShares MSCI Argentina and Global Exposure ETF -32.69
AADR  AdvisorShares Dorsey Wright ADR ETF -31.54

Tables data measure total annual returns for 2018.


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

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