ETF Trends
ETF Trends

While most sectors of the market meandered off the upward climb with a steep plunge in 2008, there were a few exchange traded funds (ETFs) that persevered and rose to new heights.

Investors are always on the lookout for that new money-making deal that would help fill their lonely pockets with a fistful of cash, but those who choose incorrectly may have even lost the pants that those pockets were in.

According to John Spence for The Wall Street Journal, 2008 was not a kind year for traders investing in:

  • SPDR S&P 500 (SPY): dropped 37%
  • iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA): dropped 41%
  • PowerShares FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets Portfolio (PXH): dropped 45%
  • ProShares Ultra Financials (UYG): dropped 85%
  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Home Construction (ITB): dropped 43%
  • Commodities and material ETFs also took a beating. Most notably, oil ETFs and exchange traded notes (ETNs) that saw that drop of oil to below $40 a barrel. United States Oil Fund (USO) dropped 56%.

The important thing for investors to keep in mind is that some of the most beaten-down sectors will have the best opportunities for a recovery later. Some real bargains are lurking around the markets right now, so eye these funds and see if they move above their trend lines before you consider whether they’re right for you and your goals.

On the flip side, there are those lucky few who did not choose lemons in 2008 and profited with ETFs and ETNs such as:

  • ProShares UltraShort S&P 500 (SDS), a leveraged, bearish fund designed to short the market, gained 61%.
  • Long-term Treasury bonds sensitive to rate changes benefited from near zero Fed rate cuts. Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF (EDV) gained 55%. iShares Lehman 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT) gained 34%. SPDR Lehman Long Term Treasury ETF (TLO) gained 24%
  • Currency ETFs that tracked the weakness of the dollar to other currencies also benefited. iPath JPY/USD Exchange Rate ETN (JYN) gained 23%. Rydex CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (FXY) also gained 23%.

Overall, markets greatly shrunk in volume, but investors still continued to invest in ETFs. Market turmoil is also said to raise questions regarding ETNs and their innate credit risks for investors.

Read the disclaimer, as Tom Lydon is a board member of Rydex Funds.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.