Below are the final total return performance numbers for key ETFs across asset classes in 2019. For each ETF, we also include its performance in Q4 and December.
The S&P 500 rallied 2.9% in December and 8.99% in Q4 to finish the full year up 31.22%. The Tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 (QQQ) was by far the best performing US index ETF in 2019 with a gain of 38.96%, and it was the third best ETF in the entire matrix. The title of best performing ETF in 2019 goes to the S&P 500 Technology sector ETF (XLK), which rallied 49.86%. Remember, 40% of XLK is made up of just Apple (AAPL) and Microsoft (MSFT), which gained 89% and 58% in 2019, respectively. The Russia stock market ETF (RSX) was the second biggest winner in the matrix with a 2019 total return of 40.79%.
Everywhere you look across the equity landscape, there were big winners in 2019, but the weakest area of the market was the Energy sector ETF (XLE). Even still, XLE managed to put up double-digit percentage gains on the year at +11.74%.
In the commodities space, we saw oil gain 32.61% in 2019, which actually bested the gain for the S&P 500. Gold (GLD) and silver (SLV) both put in solid gains in the mid-teens, while the perpetually losing natural gas ETF (UNG) was the only ticker in the matrix that fell across all three time frames (December, Q4, and full year).
Looking at fixed income, the aggregate bond market ETFs (AGG and BND) posted total returns of 8%+, while the 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TLT) gained 14% on the year. Q4 and December were tough for fixed income, however, as rates moved higher. Join Bespoke Premium with a two-week free trial for our 2020 outlook and more.