Wild volatility, cybersecurity, and medical devices: These were the 11 best-performing ETFs of 2018

  • The best-performing exchange-traded products in 2018 included funds geared toward shorting stocks, going long volatility, and fighting cyber crime.
  • Investors who were positioned for higher volatility were rewarded. The top performer, the exchange-traded note (ETN)VXX, exposes investors to futures contracts on the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), which reflects implied volatility in the S&P 500.
  • Business Insider compiled the 11 best-performing exchange-traded products (which include ETFs and ETNs, like the VXX) with at least $US500 million of assets under management.

Even as the market plunged this year, some passive investors were rewarded.

The best-performing US-listed large exchange-traded products included those exposed to going long the US dollar, health care stocks, and volatility, in addition to shorting US stocks. One of the best performers, too, was a fund with exposure to companies focused on providing cybersecurity as a service.

The major US averages were all down meaningfully from their respective record highs hit earlier this year, with the S&P 500 (-18%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (-17%), and Nasdaq Composite (-21%) all in, or near, bear-market territory.

Globally, investors have poured nearly $US338 billion into exchange-traded funds in 2018 through the end of last week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch told clients in a report.

Here are the top-performing vehicles, ranked by their 2018 returns through Thursday morning.


ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF

Markets InsiderETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (HACK)

Ticker: HACK

Assets under management: $US1.4 billion

2018 return: +5.25%

2018 investments in the fund: +$US253 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


ProShares Short S&P 500

Markets InsiderProShares Short S&P 500 (SH)

Ticker: SH

Assets under management: $US2.1 billion

2018 return: +7%

2018 investments in the fund: +$US641 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury

Markets InsiderProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury (TBT)

Ticker: TBT

Assets under management: $US1.2 billion

2018 return: +7.5%

2018 investments in the fund: -$US946 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF

Markets InsiderInvesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF (PSCH)

Ticker: PSCH

Assets under management: $US850 million

2018 return: +8%

2018 investments in the fund: +$US704 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


Invesco DB US Dollar Bullish Fund

Markets InsiderInvesco DB US Dollar Bullish (UUP)

Ticker: UUP

Assets under management: $US519 million

2018 return: +8%

2018 investments in the fund: -$US61 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


iShares US Healthcare Providers ETF

Markets InsideriShares US Healthcare Providers ETF (IHF)

Ticker: IHF

Assets under management: $US890 million

2018 return: +8.3%

2018 investments in the fund: +$US460 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


ProShares UltraShort S&P 500

Markets InsiderProShares UltraShort S&P500 (SDS)

Ticker:
SDS

Assets under management: $US962 million

2018 return: +10%

2018 investments in the fund: -$US127 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


iShares North American Tech-Software ETF

Markets InsideriShares North American Tech-Software ETF (IGV)

Ticker:
IGV

Assets under management: $US1.7 billion

2018 return: +10%

2018 investments in the fund: $US557 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


iShares US Medical Devices ETF

Markets InsideriShares US Medical Devices ETF (IHI)

Ticker:
IHI

Assets under management: $US2.6 billion

2018 return: +12%

2018 investments in the fund: $US984 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN

BloombergVelocityShares Daily 2x VIX ST ETN (TVIX)

Ticker:
TVIX

Assets under management: $US597 million

2018 return: +27%

2018 investments in the fund: $US56 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX)

Markets InsideriPath S&P 500 VIX ST Futures ETN (VXX)

Ticker:
VXX

Assets under management: $US925 million

2018 return: +68%

2018 investments in the fund: -$US931 million

Data provided by Bloomberg.


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