5 ETFs That Have Seen a Turnaround from 2008

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Includes: EWZ, IYW, JJCTF, MOO, XRT
by: Tom Lydon

In 2008, most ETFs took a beating to some degree or another. In 2009, the economy is still limping along, but some of last year’s most beaten-down have been crawling their way back with impressive results. Here are five of them.

Note that this isn’t a complete list of all funds that were down sharply in 2008 and then came back this year – these are just a few that have caught our eyes.

Brazil is one country that is enjoying the inundation of assets flowing into emerging markets. The country fared rather well during the financial crisis and could be on a path for more growth as its abundance of natural resources provides for an ever-growing trade surplus. Many also expect that Brazil may be one of the few countries that will be leading the path to recovery.

  • iShares MSCI Brazil Index (NYSEARCA:EWZ): down 56.6% in 2008; up 41.8% in 2009

ETF EWZ

As the world resumes normal growth, metals, especially copper, will be needed in wiring and plumbing. China is an example of how one country’s voracious need for copper may drive up the metal’s prices. (Note that this is an ETN, which differ from ETFs in some key ways).

  • iPath DJ AIG Copper TR Sub-Idx ETN (JJC): down 54.5% in 2008; up 56.5% in 2009

ETF JJC

Some areas are bound to outpace others, and one way to capitalize on this is agriculture. Emerging markets that further develop will need the sustenance for their growing populations and farms aren’t non-profit enterprises. Producers of these economies are in a position to potentially benefit, too.

  • Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSEARCA:MOO): down 51.5% in 2008; up 18.7% in 2009

ETF MOO

The retail sector is gaining momentum with a strong emphasis on value. Consumers are out and consuming again, although in different ways – they’re focusing on home entertainment and cheap deals where they can get them. The advertising game is also in full gear, trying to lure in consumers to go along with value ad cheap prices. Some retail stocks are above their long-term trend prices.

  • SPDR S&P Retail (NYSEARCA:XRT): down 39.3% in 2008; up 31% in 2009

ETF XRT

The technology sector has seen some increased competitiveness among industry giants. More investments are also pouring into the sector as more people are caught up in the venture capital game. Some believe that this sector has posted gains because of its ability to remain innovative, keep consumers on their toes and have overall financial strength.

  • iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology (NYSEARCA:IYW): down 43.4% in 2008; up 20.8% in 2009

ETF IYW

Max Chen contributed to this article.