Worst ETF Plays Of March

April 02, 2014

High-flying sectors like biotech and social media come back to Earth.

Worst ETF Plays of March

  • Silver Miners: Silver spot prices slid more than 6 percent over the month and the companies that mine the precious metal were caught in the cross hairs. The higher-beta junior miners were hit hardest; the PureFunds ISE Junior Silver ETF (SILJ | F-34) fell 17 percent in March. Larger silver miners were hit too; the iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners ETF (SLVP | C-99) slid 11 percent.
  • Biotech: This high-flying sector finally came back to Earth. The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI | A-47) fell 13 percent in March as valuations contracted on concern about future earnings. In general, all of the ETFs in the U.S. Biotech Segment had a tough month.
  • Social Media: The Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL | B-20) fell 13 percent in March, as all of its top holdings incurred negative returns. Among its hardest-hit holdings were Yelp and the Chinese media giant Sina.
  • Gold Miners: Gold slid 3 percent in March, but as is often the case, higher-beta gold miners slid even further: The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ | D-30) was down 12 percent in the month. A quick look at our Global Gold Miners Segment shows similar performance across most of the gold mining spectrum.
  • Internet: Much like high-flying biotech and social media stocks, some of the hottest Internet companies retreated from lofty valuations. The PowerShares Nasdaq Internet ETF (PNQI | A-73) and the First Trust Dow Jones Internet ETF (FDN | A-97) fell 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
  • Russia: Western sanctions and the lingering prospect of war dragged down Russian equities. Hardest hit was the Market Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ | D-26), which slid 9 percent. Its larger sister fund, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX | C-66), fell more than 4 percent.


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