30 Best & Worst ETFs of Bernanke Era

History will judge Fed chairman’s eight-year tenure, but data from ETF Database give an objective preview

Judging Ben Bernanke, above, at a press conference, through the results of ETFs. (Photo:AP) Judging Ben Bernanke, above, at a press conference, through the results of ETFs. (Photo:AP)

Ben Bernanke has concluded his eight-year tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve, and has left the central bank trailing the opinions of critics and supporters about how well he steered the institution during a time of great crisis.

Bernanke was first appointed chairman on Feb. 1, 2006, when the U.S. outlook was upbeat. That optimism soon eroded, however, as the financial crisis began to unfold.

Bernanke quickly steered the central bank toward a highly accommodating policy. Over the years, the Fed launched several massive stimulus programs, known as quantitative easing, to help the U.S. gain economic traction.

History will eventually pass judgment on Bernanke’s leadership of the Fed and his legacy.

In the meantime, ETF Database has opted for an objective look at how well or badly certain corners of the financial market fared during his two terms as chairman.

The following lists of best and worst performers ETFs in the Bernanke era are based on returns from Feb. 1, 2006, to Jan. 3, 2013:

15 Best Performing ETFs

15. (tie) Aerospace & Defense (PPA): 110%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category: Industrials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

15. (tie) SPDR Gold Trust (GLD): 110%

Issuer: State Street SPDR
Category:
Precious Metals
Expense ratio:
0.40%

13. COMEX Gold Trust (IAU): 111%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Precious Metals
Expense ratio:
0.25%

12. SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap Growth ETF (SLYG): 112%

Issuer: State Street SPDR
Category:
Small Cap Growth Equities
Expense ratio:
0.25%

11. iShares U.S. Consumer Services ETF (IYC): 115%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Consumer Discretionary Equities
Expense ratio:
0.48%

10. QQQ (QQQ): 117%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Large Cap Growth Equities
Expense ratio:
0.20%

9. Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP): 119%

Issuer: State Street SPDR
Category:
Consumer Staples Equities
Expense ratio:
0.18%

8. (tie) Dynamic Retail (PMR): 120%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Consumer Discretionary Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

8. (tie) Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY): 120%

Issuer: State Street SPDR
Category:
Consumer Discretionary Equities
Expense ratio:
0.18%

8. (tie) Consumer Discretion ETF (VCR): 120%

Issuer: Vanguard
Category:
Consumer Discretionary Equities
Expense ratio:
0.14%

5. Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment Portfolio (PEJ): 125%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Consumer Discretionary Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

4. Consumer Staples ETF (VDC): 130%

Issuer: Vanguard
Category:
Consumer Staples Equities
Expense ratio:
0.14%

3. iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF (EWM): 157%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Emerging Markets Equities
Expense ratio:
0.52%

2. Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB): 180%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Health & Biotech Equities
Expense ratio:
0.48%

1. Dynamic Pharmaceuticals (PJP): 235%
Issuer:
Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Health & Biotech Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

15 Worst Performing ETFs

15. (tie) iShares MSCI Belgium Capped ETF (EWK): -3%

Issuer: iShares
Category: 
Europe Equities
Expense ratio:
0.53%

15. (tie) iShares Japan Large-Cap ETF (ITF): -3%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Japan Equities
Expense ratio:
0.50%

15. (tie) Dynamic Semiconductors (PSI): -3%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Technology Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

12. iShares North American Tech-Multimedia Networking ETF (IGN): -4%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Technology Equities
Expense ratio:
0.48%

11. iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ): -5%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Japan Equities
Expense ratio:
0.51%

10. Financials ETF (VFH): -7%

Issuer: Vanguard
Category:
Financials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.19%

9. iShares U.S. Financials ETF (IYF): -11%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Financials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.48%

8. iShares Global Financials ETF (IXG): -12%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Financials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.49%

7. Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF): -19%

Issuer: State Street SPDR
Category:
Financials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.18%

6. iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF (IYG): -20%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Financials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.48%

5. (tie) SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE): -23%

Issuer: State Street SPDR
Category:
Financials Equities
Expense ratio:
0.35%

5. (tie) iShares MSCI Austria Capped ETF (EWO): -23%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Europe Equities
Expense ratio:
0.52%

3. iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF (EWI): -31%

Issuer: iShares
Category:
Europe Equities
Expense ratio: 0.51%

2. Lux Nanotech Portfolio (PXN): -58%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Technology Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

1. WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (PBW): -64%

Issuer: Invesco PowerShares
Category:
Alternative Energy Equities
Expense ratio:
0.60%

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