It was not the kind of start to the new year for which investors were hoping. In January, a winter chill settled over the markets and exchange traded funds (ETFs). The major indexes and many asset classes ended the month lower.

Despite the Federal Reserve’s confidence in the recovery, promises to keep interest rates low for the time being in order to further encourage recovery and a stellar report on gross domestic product, the markets simply couldn’t muster gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 4.6% for the month. The S&P 500 lost 4.7% and the Nasdaq declined 6.3%.

One standout sector this month was regional banks. President Barack Obama is looking to crack down on major financial institutions. Sensing impending weakness among the major banks, investors looked to the healthier regional banks for returns. Solar was the weakest sector, down about 15% for the month.

To view our full January ETF performance report, click here.

To view all of our past performance reports, click here.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. 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.