The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY had a great year in 2021, gaining 27.4% on the year. But not all market sectors and investment themes delivered equal performances.
Benzinga took a look back at some of the best- and worst-performing ETFs of the year, which can give investors a picture of which these worked in the past 12 months and which ones didn’t. Here’s an overview of some of the top and bottom ETF performers of 2021.
Related Link: 10 Best Performing S&P 500 Stocks Of 2021
Best: Breakwave Dry Bulk Shipping ETF BDRY, up 284.4%.
The Baltic Dry Index gained about 60% in 2021, sending dry shipping stocks skyrocketing.
Worst: ProShares Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF UVXY, down 88.4%.
Betting on volatility was a losing trade in 2021, and the VIX volatility index finished the year down more than 23%.
Best: MicroSectors U S Big Oil Index 3X Leveraged ETN NRGU, up 162.8%.
Oil and gas prices hit multi-year highs in 2021 on the combination of short supply and pandemic reopening demand.
Worst: MicroSectors US Big Oil Index 3X Inverse Leveraged ETN NRGD, down 87.8%.
Given record-high energy prices, it’s not surprising a leveraged, inverse big oil ETF was a big loser in 2021.
Best: Direxion Daily Homebuilders & Supplies Bull 3X Shs NAIL, up 161%.
The U.S. housing market continued to boom in 2021, sending homebuilder stocks soaring.
Worst: Direxion Daily Semiconductor Bear 3X Shares SOXS, down 81%.
It’s a bold move making a levered bet against semiconductor stocks, and it’s a gamble that predictably didn’t pay off in 2021.
Best: Direxion Daily MSCI Real Estate Bull 3x Shares DRN, up 151.1%.
Real estate prices recovered significantly in 2021, and sky-high housing prices provided particularly strong tailwinds to leveraged real estate ETFs like the DRN.
Worst: Direxion Daily S&P Oil & Gas Exp & Prod Br 2X Shs DRIP, down 79.8%.
The DRIP ETF was another victim of the strong 2021 oil and gas environment, and the double leveraged inverse ETF meant double the losses for investors.
Best: ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Crude Oil ETF UCO, up 145.8%.
Once again, long oil was a winning trade in 2021, and UCO investors had a big year as a result.
Worst: Direxion Daily CSI China Internet Idx Bull 2X Shs CWEB, down 78.7%.
Big Chinese tech stocks got hammered from both a domestic crackdown by Chinese regulators and threats from U.S. regulators to delist Chinese stocks that do not comply with rigorous new accounting standards.
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