Jeffrey Ptak of Morningstar took a look at his picks for the worst performers, singling out a few funds that were victims of bad timing, launched as certain sectors were hitting their peaks. Emerging markets, real estate and even natural resources were among them. As an example, he cited the SPDR S&P China (GXC) and the First Trust ISE ChIndia (FNI).
Ptak’s pick for the worst ETF, however, is the Claymore Clear Global Timber (CUT), which launched in November. He says that there’s a big difference between investing in timber forests and investing in forest companies, which is what CUT does. As a result, there are factors such as cost-efficiency, exchange-rate fluctuations and more that can put a drag on returns.
Christian Magoon, head of the ETF group at Claymore, wonders if Morningstar "gets it."
"USO doesn’t invest in barrels of oil. Deustche Bank doesn’t own corn, wheat and livestock. [CUT] was the best investable option for retail investors who don’t have tens of millions, or hundreds of millions, to invest in actual land," Magoon said.
"To get an award based on misrepresentation, I think, is a big stretch in my opinion."