Skip to Content
ETF Specialist

ETFs by the Numbers in 2009

The highs, lows, successes, and failures of ETFs in 2009.

Mentioned: , , , , , , , , ,

One of the things I love most about the ETF universe is its incredible coverage of global capital markets and the cornucopia of index products that seem to fill nearly every niche. This variety not only provides a tool for nearly every investment thesis but also allows us to take the pulse of nearly every market through the performance and asset flows of ETFs. In the crazy year of 2009, that pulse had plenty of palpitations and even a few arrests. We wanted to take this chance to highlight some of the oddball statistics and interesting patterns that showed up in a year for the record books.

Let's start this review out with the highest-returning non-leveraged ETF of 2009: Market Vectors Coal ETF (KOL), with a whopping 145% return for the year. Didn't see that one coming? It's OK, neither did anyone else. The fund had only $168 million in assets at the end of December 2008 and even experienced small net outflows through the first four months of 2009. Raw industrial materials were the great returners this year after 2008's incredible beating, with some of the other top returns coming from  Market Vectors Steel ETF (SLX) and iPath DJ-UBS Lead Sub-Index ETN (LD). Even among contrarians searching for bargains at the beginning of the year, few were willing to place bets on these extraordinarily risky concentrated funds for fear that we had not yet seen bottom.

Bradley Kay does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.