With 2009 seeing a turbulent year from the continuation of a market selloff from 2008 to complete investor capitulation in March to an unprecedented 65% runup from the pivot low, you'd expect to see the leveraged ETFs on this list since volatility erodes their value considerably and to add insult to injury, there are 8 New Leverage ETFs on their way at this time.
Therefore, I've included only a few from that genre, then included some conventional sector funds as well. If you held on to any of these dogs for the full year, it's time to ask yourself whether buy and hold is right for you and whether any of these were actually suitable "investments" (very few would agree that leveraged ETFs are anything more than a trade).
Worst of the Worst - The Worst 5 ETFs of the Year are all Leveraged:
Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (NYSEARCA:FAZ) -94.33%
Direxion Daily Emrg Mkts Bear 3X Shares (NYSEARCA:EDZ) -92.33%
Direxion Daily Technology Bear 3X Shares (TYP) -84.41%
UltraShort Real Estate ProShares (NYSEARCA:SRS) -83.81%
Rydex Inverse 2x S&P Select Sector Fincl (RFN) -81.89%
Worst Commodity ETF of 2009
United States Natural Gas (NYSEARCA:UNG) -60.21%
Worst Bond ETF of 2009
Vanguard Extended Dur Trs Idx ETF (NYSEARCA:EDV) -32.62%
Worst Sector Fund of 2009
SPDR KBW Regional Banking (NYSEARCA:KRE) -25.62%
*Wildcard - Worst ETF that Never Should Have Been Invented
AirShares EU Carbon Allowances (ASO) -14.89%
Worst Country ETF of 2009
iShares MSCI Japan Index (IJP) -1.67%
Conversely, make sure to also check out the Hottest ETFs of 2009, up over 100% on the year.
Disclosure: No positions in the aforementioned ETFs (thankfully).