Worst Performing ETFs 3Q 2019

October 09, 2019

Earlier this week, ETF.com took a look at the best-performing ETFs of 2019. Today, we’ll run through the other side of the coin, the worst performers so far this year.

As one can imagine, with financial markets generally doing well this year, there aren’t that many ETFs outright cratering. Nevertheless, there is always something underperforming, and when you exclude leveraged, inverse and volatility products, you still end up with more than a dozen ETFs with losses exceeding 15%.

Here are those 15, with returns ranging from -16.5% to -33.1%:


Worst-Performing ETFs Of The Year (excluding leveraged/inverse/volatility)

Ticker Fund YTD Return (%)
FNG AdvisorShares New Tech and Media ETF -33.14
SCIF VanEck Vectors India Small-Cap Index ETF -26.91
FCG  First Trust Natural Gas ETF -25.93
GAZ  iPath Series B Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN -25.85
PSCE  Invesco S&P SmallCap Energy ETF -25.30
XES  SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF -24.43
OIH  VanEck Vectors Oil Services ETF -21.24
XOP  SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF -20.18
UNG  United States Natural Gas Fund LP -20.15
NGE  Global X MSCI Nigeria ETF -19.61
FXN  First Trust Energy AlphaDEX Fund -18.22
IEZ  iShares U.S. Oil Equipment & Services ETF -17.23
PXE  Invesco Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production ETF -16.72
MJ ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF -16.52
PAK  Global X MSCI Pakistan ETF -16.47

Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through Oct. 7.

Tech Bets Gone Wrong

When you consider that technology is the No. 1 sector in terms of performance this year, it’s a bit surprising to see a tech ETF headline on the worst-performers list. Bad bets placed by the managers of the AdvisorShares New Tech and Media ETF (FNG) caused it to lose more than 33% of its value this year. In fact, the actively managed ETF performed so poorly that it closed shop last week.

Not too many investors were sad to see it go. FNG only had around $10 million in assets under management on its last trading day.

If anything, FNG is a cautionary tale about active management. When it comes to these products, performance is going to be overwhelmingly dictated by the skill of the managers.

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