Though this year was largely marked by an insatiable bull-run, not every ETF was able to prosper. There were a select few segments in the market that struggled to stay afloat, dragging down a number of ETFs in the process. More specifically, precious metals and volatility had a pathetic outing in 2013, as a handful of funds tracking these asset classes were among the worst performing ETFs of the year. The losses in 2013 were especially painful given that the S&P 500 recorded its best annual performance in a decade, jumping 28%+ for the 12 month stretch.
Both asset classes largely took a hit due to surging stocks, as volatility almost always subsides in bull runs while precious metals tend to lose their safe haven appeal during fruitful markets. It should also be noted that this was the first negative annual return for gold in 12 years, breaking what was one of the longest bull runs in the financial world .
Below, we display the 15 worst performing ETFs of this year; please note this list excludes leveraged and inverse funds and returns are as of 12/27/2013:
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.