2013 was largely dominated by a relentless bull market that saw the S&P 500 notch a gain of more than 30%, its best year in over a decade. But while many were focused on the gains of broad benchmarks, a number of funds and securities were having quite an interesting year – some good, some bad. Below, we take a look back at the 13 of the most interesting and unpredictable ETF charts from 2013 with some astonishing results that investors may have missed throughout the year .

1. GDX

The Market Vectors TR Gold Miners had a rough go in 2013, as gold and gold miners were among the worst performing securities. Other than a short-lived rebound in August, GDX almost never broke out of its downward momentum as it lost 54.5% on the year. In fact, Newmont Mining , one of GDX’s largest holdings, was the worst performing S&P 500 stock of the year, surrendering 51%.

2. EEH

The SPECTRUM Lg Cap U.S. Sector ETN had one of the most unique charts you will ever see. The fund is thinly traded (sometimes going a number of sessions without ever trading a share, hence the wacky chart), leaving it flat for the first part of the year. However, the ETF went haywire in September and October as the fund jumped over 750% in just a matter of weeks. The movement was the result of the fund seeing some unusually high volume that caused it to trade at a massive premium. Within a matter of days the fund gave up all of its gains and settled back around where it started the year.

3. PGJ vs. FXI

China has been a major focus for investors as the massive emerging market has slowed its rate of growth (though it is still growing quite nicely) in recent years. Enter the Golden Dragon Halter USX China Portfolio and the iShares China Large-Cap ETF , two ETFs that take a very different approach to measuring Chinese equities. The performance results are jaw-dropping, as PGJ gained a massive 58% on the year while its much larger predecessor, FXI, lost 5.1%.

4. GREK

The 2013 performance of the FTSE Greece 20 ETF is without a doubt one of the most unique charts from this past year. After a pullback in the first quarter, the fund saw a swift spike, only to give up all of the gains shortly thereafter. Still, the fund overcame its mid-year sell-off and was able to charge higher for the majority of the final two quarters on the year.

5. TAN

After suffering through three straight losing years, the Solar ETF was able to turn in its best-ever annual performance in 2013, jumping nearly 125%. With favorable news of solar energy developments around the world, TAN took off in April and refused to be slowed down for the rest of the year. In fact, TAN was the best performing non-leveraged ETF on the year.

6. VXX

No fear here. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN tracks the VIX, AKA the fear index. Typically used by speculative traders, VXX tends to prosper in bear markets but is hung out to dry when bull runs consume the financial world. As the chart displays, the impressive run for equities in 2013 wreaked havoc on this ETN that lost 66.5% on the year and is down approximately 99% since inception.

7. SOCL

Social media was one of the hottest investing sectors in 2013 as Twitter (TWTR) made its long-awaited debut and Facebook’s stock was able to nearly double in price. As a result, the Social Media Index ETF jumped a handsome 64% on the year.

8. CQQQ

As mentioned above, China has been under the microscope for many investors over the last few years and while its performance as a whole was lackluster in 2013, there were still parts that shined through. The China Technology ETF proves the power of sector investing, as the fund jumped 57% versus broad equities that lost just over 5%.

9. SPLV vs. SPHB

The following chart documents the difference between aggressive and conservative approaches and how they fare during bull runs. The S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio picks out a handful of stocks with historically low volatility while the S&P 500 High Beta Portfolio picks those with high betas in regards to the S&P 500. The latter is a riskier strategy and is one that paid off in 2013 as it outperformed not only its low volatility counterpart, but also broad markets as a whole.

10. SLV

Silver came out of 2013 as the worst performing commodity, dragging down a number of funds and securities that depend on the white metal. The iShares Silver Trust is the most popular silver ETF, commanding more than 8 million shares traded on a daily basis. Silver’s demise sent SLV down 36.3% on the year. As equities charged forward, precious metals took it on the chin for the majority of the year. By far, the worst stretch came in April when SLV lost more than 17% in just two trading sessions.

11. UUP

To say it was a volatile year for the dollar would be an understatement. The greenback jostled back and forth, taking the DB USD Index Bullish for quite a ride. After seeing massive run-ups and sell-offs the fund ended the year nearly where it started, losing just 1.3% when all was said and done.

12. EWZ

So much for that World Cup bump. Investors had high hopes for the emerging economy, as many expected it to pick up the pace given that it will be hosting the 2014 World Cup in Rio De Janeiro. The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF , the largest Brazil ETF, had a rough 12 month stretch, especially in late May and June, which saw the fund endure a sell-off of approximately 25%. Emerging markets as a whole had a pretty miserable 2013, as this BRIC nation was just one of many that struggled on the year.

13. TNA

The Daily Small Cap Bull 3X Shares is one of the most popular leveraged products on the market. With a 300% leverage on small caps, this ETF comes with a heavy risk/reward trade-off. Luckily for TNA, 2013′s massive gain allowed this ETF to prey on the market, gaining more than 140% and a 2-for-1 split in May as the fund’s price began to spike.

Follow me on Twitter @JaredCummans.

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

Related Articles
  1. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares UltraPro Nasdaq Biotech

    Obtain information about an ETF offerings that provides leveraged exposure to the biotechnology industry, the ProShares UltraPro Nasdaq Biotech Fund.
  2. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI Europe Financials

    Learn about the iShares MSCI Europe Financials fund, which invests in numerous European financial industries, such as banks, insurance and real estate.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR S&P Insurance

    Learn about the SPDR S&P Insurance exchange-traded fund, which follows the S&P Insurance Select Industry Index by investing in equities of U.S. insurers.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Small Cap

    Learn about the SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Small Cap exchange-traded fund, which invests in small-cap firms traded at the emerging equity markets.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ETFS Physical Platinum

    Learn about the physical platinum ETF. Platinum embarked on a bull market from 2001 to 2011, climbing to record prices along with other precious metals.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI Turkey

    Learn about the iShares MSCI Turkey exchange-traded fund, which invests in a wide variety of companies' equities traded on Turkish exchanges.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged

    Find out about the PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged ETF, and learn detailed information about characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Guggenheim Enhanced Short Dur

    Find out about the Guggenheim Enhanced Short Duration ETF, and learn detailed information about this fund that focuses on fixed-income securities.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares US Oil&Gas Explor&Prodtn

    Learn about the iShares U.S. Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF, which provides an efficient way to invest in the exploration and production sector.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value

    Find out about the Shares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF, and learn detailed information about this exchange-traded fund that focuses on small-cap equities.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF)

    A security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets ...
  2. Exchange-Traded Mutual Funds (ETMF)

    Investopedia explains the definition of exchange-traded mutual ...
  3. Fractal Markets Hypothesis (FMH)

    An alternative investment theory to Efficient Market Hypothesis ...
  4. Lion economies

    A nickname given to Africa's growing economies.
  5. Factor Investing

    An investment strategy in which securities are chosen based on ...
  6. Reverse Gold ETF

    Exchange traded funds that are designed to trade in a direction ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What does a high turnover ratio signify for an investment fund?

    If an investment fund has a high turnover ratio, it indicates it replaces most or all of its holdings over a one-year period. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does index trading increase market vulnerability?

    The rise of index trading may increase the overall vulnerability of the stock market due to increased correlations between ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between passive and active asset management?

    Asset management utilizes two main investment strategies that can be used to generate returns: active asset management and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Is there a situation in which wash trading is legal?

    Wash trading, the intentional practice of manipulating a stock's activity level to deceive other investors, is not a legal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Are there leveraged ETFs that follow the retail sector?

    There are many exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the retail sector or elements of the retail sector, and some of those ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are some of the most popular ETFs that track the retail sector?

    Some of the most popular exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the retail sector include the iShares S&P Global Consumer ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!