Worst Performing ETFs Of Q1 2019

These ETFs stand out for their poor performance in a strong year for financial markets.

Senior ETF Analyst
Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
Edited by: Sumit Roy

Last week, we published lists of the top-performing ETFs of the year. A sizzling start to the year for the equity market translated into hefty double-digit gains for those funds, which included marijuana, China A-shares and oil ETFs.

Today we’re taking a look at the other side of the ledger, the worst performers. As usual, we have two lists: one that includes all U.S.-listed exchange-traded products and one that excludes leveraged, inverse and volatility products.

We had to strip out a whole bunch of ETFs to come up with the narrower ex-leveraged/inverse/volatility list. The vast majority of the products that performed poorly so far this year have a strategy of shorting (with or without leverage) areas of the market that have done well.

Without those products, it’s pretty hard to find ETFs that have cratered in 2019. In fact, with the exception of one fund, the other 19 worst performers each have losses of less than 10%. That’s not that bad.


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

TickerFundYTD Return (%)
BDRY Breakwave Dry Bulk Shipping ETF-48.05
WEAT Teucrium Wheat Fund-9.44
GRU Elements MLCX Grains Index-Total Return ETN-6.44
FUE Elements MLCX Biofuels Index-Total Return ETN-5.99
FXS Invesco CurrencyShares Swedish Krona Trust-5.11
UNG United States Natural Gas Fund LP-4.90
INCO Columbia India Consumer ETF-4.33
VAMO Cambria Value & Momentum ETF-4.10
CORN Teucrium Corn Fund-4.05
TAGS Teucrium Agricultural Fund-3.41
DBSInvesco DB Silver Fund-2.81
SIVR Aberdeen Standard Physical Silver Shares ETF-2.45
SLV iShares Silver Trust-2.41
FXE Invesco CurrencyShares Euro Trust-2.27
USV ETRACS CMCI Silver Total Return ETN-2.11
FXF Invesco CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust-2.02
FXY Invesco CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust-1.99
NIB iPath Bloomberg Cocoa Subindex Total Return ETN-1.92
UAG ETRACS CMCI Agriculture Total Return ETN-1.76
SLVO Credit Suisse X-Links Silver Shares Covered Call ETN-1.57

Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through April 5.


Shipping ETF Tanks

The exception is the Breakwave Dry Bulk Shipping ETF (BDRY), far and away the worst-performing fund on our first list, with a 48.1% loss. BDRY is a one-year-old ETF that provides exposure to near-month dry bulk freight futures contracts.

Sagging prices for shipping commodities and futures curves in contango have taken a bite out of the fund, which only has $3 million in assets under management.

BDRY isn’t the only commodity-related ETF to take a dive this year. Agriculture products like the Teucrium Wheat Fund (WEAT), the Elements MLCX Grains Index-Total Return ETN (GRU) and the Teucrium Corn Fund (CORN) all made the worst-performers list.

Natural gas, silver and cocoa ETFs have also performed poorly so far in 2019.

Currency Losers

Outside of commodities, a few currency products made an appearance on the list. The Invesco CurrencyShares Swedish Krona Trust (FXS), the Invesco CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE), the Invesco CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust (FXF) and the Invesco CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) each shed 2-5% in the year-to-date period.

Despite indications that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to hike interest rates this year, the U.S. Dollar Index has edged up in 2019, weighing on rival currencies.

The Unadulterated List

Putting leveraged, inverse and volatility products back into the mix results in a completely different list than the one we’ve discussed. BDRY is the only ETF to make a repeat appearance, but even its losses pale in comparison with that of other products such as the VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (TVIX), the United States 3x Short Oil Fund (USOD) and the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares (LABD), among others.

For the full list, see the table below:


Worst-Performing ETFs Of The Year (all-encompassing)

TickerFundYTD Return (%)
TVIX VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN-65.83
DWT VelocityShares 3x Inverse Crude Oil ETN-64.12
USOD United States 3x Short Oil Fund-64.06
OILDProShares UltraPro 3x Short Crude Oil ETF-63.72
WTID UBS ETRACS - ProShares Daily 3x Inverse Crude ETN-63.45
LABD Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bear 3X Shares-61.34
SOXS Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3x Shares-58.12
UVXY ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF-55.43
DTO DB Crude Oil Double Short Exchange Traded Notes-51.87
FNGDMicroSectors FANG+ Index -3X Inverse Leveraged ETN-51.20
DRIP Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bear 3X Shares-50.48
GASX Direxion Daily Natural Gas Related Bear 3X Shares-49.23
TECS Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares-48.36
SCO ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Crude Oil-48.09
BDRY Breakwave Dry Bulk Shipping ETF-48.05
ZBIO ProShares UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology-44.71
EVIX VelocityShares 1x Long VSTOXX Futures ETN-44.29
SQQQ ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ-43.93
ERY Direxion Daily Energy Bear 3X Shares-42.75
PASSDirexion Daily Consumer Discretionary Bear 3X Shares-42.57

Note: Data measures total returns for the year-to-date period through April 5.


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


Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.