8 Top-Performing ETFs So Far This Year

February 07, 2014

The iPath Global Carbon ETN (GRN | F-36) is up 42 percent year-to-date.

GRN is a highly illiquid strategy, and a costly one at that. All-in expenses clock in at 6.75 percent a year, or $675 per $10,000 invested once you consider the average trading spread of this security.

The strategy is small—under $1.4 million in assets—yet it has now seen total returns of 42 percent year-to-date. On the surface, that’s impressive, but to quote our ETF analysts, GRN is “way ahead of its time,” and not in a good way.

The ETN serves up exposure to what is a thinly traded and poorly developed global carbon markets by tracking a Barclays index that measures the performance of emissions units issued under the Kyoto protocol.

“Unfortunately for GRN, there’s much deserved skepticism about the viability of that carbon market,” our ETF Analytics fund report says. “While past performance shouldn’t be seen as predictive of future performance, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this fund is down more than 90 percent since inception.”


Charts courtesy of StockCharts.com


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