2008 was the worst year for the stock market since 1931, and the worst year ever in the fifteen-year history of exchange traded funds (ETFs).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 2008 with a two-day winning streak, but was still down for the year by 33.8%. It was the Dow’s worst annual performance since the Great Depression was in full force. The S&P 500 this year lost 38.5%, while the Nasdaq fell 40.5%.

This year, 19 of the top 20 ETFs for 2008 were of the short and ultra short variety. The other best-performing ETFs of the year were telling about the state of our economy, too, as they were focused on Treasuries and the Japanese yen.

The strongest ETF for 2008 was the ProShares UltraShort Semiconductor (SSG), which ended the year up 110.9%.

The other top short ETFs this year include:

  • ProShares UltraShort Technology (REW), 95.3%
  • ProShares UltraShort Russell MidCap Growth (SDK), 94.4%
  • ProShares UltraShort Russell 1000 Growth (SFK), 80.8%
  • ProShares UltraShort QQQ (QID), 77.3%

Leveraged and short ETFs should be played with ample knowledge by investors who understand their risks.

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