Industrial metals, which include non-precious metals like steel, iron, copper, nickel and tin, haven’t fared well this year. The Global X Lithium fund (LIT | C-98) outperformed the sector, with a drop of 6.79 percent. The biggest loser in industrial metals belongs to the Global X Copper Miners fund (COPX | C-97), which fell 25 percent.
Finally, in the spirit of saving the worst for last, precious metals funds “best” performance year-to-date is pretty bad, and the worst is quite terrible. The fact that the 10 worst overall commodity funds belonged to this sector foreshadows how the top and bottom three lined up.
The story of gold in 2013 isn’t a sad one for everyone, though. It’s incredibly interesting to note that the very best and very worst commodity ETPs, if leverage and inverse funds are included in the overall mix, both belong to the precious metals sector. In fact, they’re evil-twin ETFs from Direxion, each taking the opposite bid on daily volatility in the gold market.
The Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X fund (DUST) is an inverse volatility fund designed to rally when gold miners fall. And rally it has, to the tune of 103.45 percent year-to-date. Its sibling, the Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X ETF (NUGT) plummeted 90.81 percent during that same time frame.
NUGT decreased in value so drastically that it underwent not one, but two reverse share splits—in April and then July of this year.
In terms of nonleveraged or inverse precious metals funds, the ETFS Physical Palladium ETF (PALL | A-100) has risen 1.55 percent, ringing in as the heaviest gainer of all nonleveraged or inverse precious metals ETPs. The Global X Gold Explorers fund (GLDX | D-25) has tumbled 53.91 percent, weighing in as the worst precious metals and the worst commodity ETF year-to-date.