ETF Awards: Best, Worst and What to Watch in 2014

By Eric Balchunas - 2013-12-19T16:50:25Z

Photorgaph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

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Best Single-Country ETF

WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ)

If we gave out only one award to the ETF of the year, it would be DXJ. It returned 34 percent while attracting new inflows of $9.4 billion, more than all ETFs except the largest one, the S&P 500 Trust (SPY). By betting on a rise in Japan’s exporters and against the yen, DXJ was perfectly positioned to profit from Japan’s move to depreciate its currency to bolster exports. The concept of packaging a specific trade (long stocks, short currency) into an ETF foreshadows a future of “solution-oriented” ETF launches. 

The big country loser was the iShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ), down 19 percent. Investors spooked by Brazil’s high inflation and lackluster growth pulled $3.5 billion out of the fund, the biggest outflow of any single-country ETF.