The majority, or nearly 90%, of all US-listed ETFs posted gains in 2017 but some ETFs had a bad year.
This is particularly the case for volatility ETFs as 2017 was a terrible time to bet on rising volatility. Commodity-related ETFs were the other victim last year as natural gas prices dropped significantly in 2017.
1. REX VoIMAXX Long VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF
2017 return: -82.19%
Strategy: Provides long exposure to the VIX Index, which tracks volatility in the stock market, by holding a combination of VIX futures contracts that are near to expiration to minimize time to maturity of a VIX futures portfolio.
2. ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
2017 return: -72.87%
Strategy: Provides long exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index.
3. VelocityShares Daily Long VIX Short-Term ETN
2017 return: -72.78%
Strategy: Issued by Credit Suisse, it provides investors with exposure to different maturities of futures contracts on the VIX volatility index.
4. iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN
2017 return: -72.76%
Strategy: Provides exposure to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index Total Return.
5. iPath Bloomberg Natural Gas Subindex Total Return ETN
2017 return: -65.3%
Strategy: Tracks second-month natural gas futures contracts.
6. ProShares VIX Mid-Term Futures ETF
2017 return: -48.84%
Strategy: Tracks the performance of the S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures Index and profits from increases in the expected volatility of the S&P 500. Also intended to reduce risk in a US equity portfolio.
7. VelocityShares VIX Medium Term ETN
2017 return: -48.74%
Strategy: Designed to provide investors with exposure to future contracts on the implied volatility of the S&P 500 Index.
8. iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN
2017 return: -48.61%
Strategy: Another ETN providing exposure to the S&P 500’s mid-term volatility futures contracts.
9. United States Natural Gas Fund LP
2017 return: -44%
Strategy: Tracks the movements of natural gas prices and invests mainly in listed natural gas futures contracts and other natural gas related futures contracts.
10. iPath Bloomberg Sugar Subindex Total Return ETN
2017 return: -31.94%
Strategy: Provides exposure to the Bloomberg Sugar Subindex Total Return, which consists of a futures contract on the commodity of sugar.