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These ETFs rebounded solidly in 2009

swon@globeandmail.com

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

The hottest and the coldest Canadian-listed exchanged-traded funds in 2009.

ETFs have become more popular because of their low fees, and the ease of purchase without worrying about early redemption fees like mutual funds.

Because they trade like stocks, investors pay brokerage costs. If you are a do-it-yourself investor, you can do so cheaply through a through a discount broker.

TODAY'S SEARCH

We examined the 2009 returns of ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange to find the best and worst 15 performers trading for a full year. Only iShares and Claymore ETFs were included. BMO ETFs did not yet have a full-year track record. And we excluded Horizons BetaPro bull and bear leveraged ETFs because they are not conventional offerings.

WHAT DID WE FIND?

Six ETFs with more than 50-per-cent returns.

Keep in mind that the same offerings were deep in the red in 2008 because they were hit hard during the market meltdown. Many of their stocks rebounded after being creamed partly from the forced selling by overleveraged fund managers or others trying to meet redemptions.

Claymore BRIC ETF, which is invested in Brazil, Russia, India and China, was at the top of the heap with a one-year, 75-per-cent gain after losing 58 per cent in 2008.

It was the only emerging markets ETF trading in Canada for the 2009 year. Others were launched during last year, while ETFs invested solely in China, India, Brazil and Latin America are poised to list soon.

The iShares CDN SmallCap Index climbed 61 per cent after being spanked 45 per cent in 2008. Smaller company stocks typically outperform at the start of an economic recovery.

Claymore Oil Sands Sector ETF gained 59 per cent, while Claymore S&P/TSX Global Mining ETF rose 54 per cent as commodity prices rebounded on the prospect of a rebounding global economy led by countries like China.

While the iShares CDN REIT ETF is up 53 per cent, investors should keep in mind that three real estate investment trusts make up 50 per cent of its assets. That is similar to iShares CDN Tech Sector ETF where three names, including CGI Group, Research In Motion and Open Text, comprise 70 per cent of the fund.

The worst performers in 2009 were several bond funds. Ironically, they were the stars during 2008 collapse because they kept investors in positive territory.

Last year, their returns ranged from 1.2 per cent for the iShares CDN Government Bond ETF to 5.3 per cent for the iShares CDN Long Term Bond ETF.

The only ETF to lose money was Claymore Natural Gas Commodity ETF. It sank 61 per cent as gas prices have fallen since the summer of 2008.

Best and worst ETFs at Dec. 31
(As of Dec. 31)Latest% returns
NameSymbolCategory Assets ($-mil)MER20092008200720062005
Top 15
Claymore BRIC ETFCBQ-TEmerging Mkts Equ.330.50.6675.0-57.670.9
iShares CDN SmallCap IndexXCS-TCdn Sml/Md Cap Equ.85.50.5561.1-45.4
Claymore Oil Sands Sector ETFCLO-TNatural Res Equ.41.30.6359.0-54.222.7
Claymore S&P/TSX Global Mining ETFCMW-TPrecious Metals Equ.0.5954.3-38.8
iShares CDN REIT Sector IndexXRE-TReal Estate Equ.920.30.5553.2-38.3-6.026.824.3
iShares CDN Tech Sector IndexXIT-TSci & Tech Equ.65.60.5552.4-49.110.732.7-13.5
Claymore Global Monthly Adv Div ETFCYH-TCdn Sml/Md Cap Equ.62.60.6447.1
iShares CDN Completion IndexXMD-TCdn Equ.156.10.5546.4-38.85.317.821.3
Claymore Equal Wght Banc&Lifeco ETFCEW-TFin Svcs Equ.95.40.5946.4-36.8
Claymore Cdn Fundamental Index ETFCRQ-TCdn Equ.134.50.6044.3-31.67.3
iShares CDN Financial Sector IndexXFN-TFin Svcs Equ.938.80.5544.2-35.8-1.321.223.2
iShares CDN Value IndexXCV-TCdn Div & Incm Equ.42.80.5043.7-34.05.8
iShares CDN Income Trust Sector IdxXTR-TCdn Income Trust Equ.223.60.5540.4-25.96.0-3.2
iShares CDN Energy Sector IndexXEG-TNatural Res Equ.902.30.5540.3-35.910.64.060.6
iShares CDN Jantzi Social IndexXEN-TCdn Equ.21.80.5038.9-35.5
Bottom 15
Claymore Natural Gas Commodity ETFGAS-TMiscellaneous305.10.92-61.3
Claymore Premium Money Market ETFCMR-TCdn Money Market0.4
iShares CDN Government Bond IndexXGB-TCdn Fxd Incm143.70.351.28.74.1
Claymore Japan Index ETF C$ HedgedCJP-TJapanese Equ.22.00.681.9-46.7
Claymore 1-5Yr Laddered Govt Bd ETFCLF-TCdn Shrt Trm Fxd Incm393.02.1
iShares CDN Short Bond IndexXSB-TCdn Shrt Trm Fxd Incm1,573.40.254.38.03.73.83.0
iShares CDN Bond IndexXBB-TCdn Fxd Incm1,360.20.305.06.13.33.86.1
iShares CDN Long Term Bond IndexXLB-TCdn Lng Trm Fxd Incm63.30.355.32.22.9
iShares CDN Gold Sector IndexXGD-TPrecious Metals Equ.1,127.00.557.01.0-4.540.821.7
iShares Cons Core Portfolio BuilderXCR-TGlobal Fxd Incm Bal8.60.609.7
Claymore S&P Global Water ETFCWW-TMiscellaneous38.30.6411.0-24.2
Claymore Global Real Estate ETFCGR-TReal Estate Equ.31.70.7211.8
Claymore Global Infrastructure ETFCIF-TMiscellaneous30.40.7012.3
iShares CDN Real Return Bond IndexXRB-TCdn Infl. Prot. Fxd Incm473.40.3514.10.01.2-2.8
iShares Growth Core Port BuilderXGR-TGlobal Neutral Bal6.70.6014.3
S&P/TSX Total Return35.1-33.09.817.324.1
MSCI World ($ Cdn)11.8-26.1-7.120.66.6
S&P 500 Composite ($ Cdn)5.5-23.8-12.213.6-0.2
Source: Globe Investor

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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