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Bond ETF Returns: The Best and Worst Bond ETFs of 2012

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2013 Bond ETF Returns are now available here.

The returns of U.S.-traded bond ETFs in 2012 is as follows. In the cases where a fund wasn’t open for the full year, the return from inception is shown. There is some trouble regarding the reporting for certain PIMCO funds; these will be updated as soon as information is available. For an overview of 2012 bond market performance, click here.

Top Ten Bond ETFs

  • PowerShares DB 3x Italian Treasury Bond Futures Exchange Traded Notes (ITLT), 112.82%
  • PowerShares DB Italian Treasury Bond Futures Exchange Traded Notes (ITLY), 32.81%
  • ProShares Ultra High Yield (UJB), 24.40%
  • ProShares Ultra Investment Grade Corporate (IGU), 24.37%
  • Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Portfolio ETF (PCY), 20.82%
  •  
  • iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond Fund (EMB), 16.52%
  • PowerShares DB 3x German Bund Futures Exchange Traded Notes (BUNT), 16.48%
  • Market Vectors Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond ETF (EMLC), 16.86%
  • Powershares International Corporate Bond Portfolio ETF (PICB), 15.80%
  • Market Vectors LatAm Aggregate Bond ETF (BONO), 15.91%

Bottom Ten Bond ETFs

  • Direxion Daily 20+ Yr Trsy Bear 3X Shrs (TMV), -20.19%
  • iPath US Treasury 10-year Bear ETN (DTYS), -17.08%
  • PowerShares DB 3x Short 25+ Year Treasury Bond ETN (SBND), -16.72%
  • Direxion Daily 7-10 Yr Trsy Bear 3X Shrs (TYO), -16.07%
  • ProShares UltraShort TIPS ETF (TPS), -13.67%
  • ProShares Short High Yield (SJB), -13.39%
  • iPath US Treasury Steepener ETN (STPP), -12.66%
  • ProShares Short Investment Grade Corporate (IGS), -12.46%
  • JP Morgan Double Short US Long Bond Treasury Futures ETN (DSTJ), -12.40%
  • ProShares UltraShort Barclays 20+ Year Treasury (TBT), -12.22%

The results of the winning and losing ETFs encompasses only funds that were open for the full year. The most noticeable element of these lists is that almost all of the funds are leveraged ETFs – those that amplify returns by using futures contracts to generate returns two or three times that of the underlying market – and inverse ETFs, or those that bet against the market. It’s important to keep in mind that many of these are trading vehicles for sophisticated investors, and are unlikely to duplicate their returns from year to year. Outside of the inverse ETFs, the worst performers were typically ultra-short and short-term funds that invest in securities with yields that are currently so low that the majority of the funds’ income are devoted to fees and expenses.

Ten Largest Bond ETFs

  • iShares iBoxx US Dollar Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (LQD), 10.24%
  • Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (TIP), 6.15%
  • Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND), 2.94%
  • iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (HYG), 11.05%
  • iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund (AGG), 3.75%
  • SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK),12.83 %
  • Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (BSV), 1.53%
  • iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Credit Bond Fund (CSJ), 2.71%
  • iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund (SHY), 0.25%
  • iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond Fund (EMB), 16.52%

All ETFs

Multi-Sector Bond ETFs

  • Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND), 2.94%
  • iShares Core Total U.S. Bond Market ETF (AGG), 3.75%
  • PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND), 10.81% (March 1 inception)
  • Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond ETF (BIV), 4.47%
  • Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (SCHZ), 3.13%
  • Columbia Core Taxable Bond ETF (GMTB), 1.52%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond ETF (LAG), 3.78%
  • iShares Barclays Government/Credit Bond Fund (GBF), 3.29%
  • Guggenheim Enhanced Core Bond (GIY), 3.19%
  • FlexShares Ready Access Variable Income Fund (RAVI), -0.03% (October 11)
  • Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF (BSV), 1.53%
  • iShares Core Short-Term U.S. Bond ETF (ISTB), -0.02% (October 24)
  • PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Strategy Fund (MINT), n/a
  • Guggenheim Enhanced Short Duration Bond ETF (GSY), 1.50%
  • iShares Barclays Intermediate Government/Credit Bond Fund (GVI), 3.01%
  • Vanguard Long-Term Bond ETF (BLV), 5.65%
  • iShares Core Long-Term U.S. Bond ETF(ILTB) (GLJ prior to 10/22/12), 8.41%

Short Term Government Bond ETFs

  • SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term Treasury (SST), 0.80%
  • iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury Bond Fund (SHY), 0.25%
  • Shares Barclays Short Treasury Bond Fund (SHV), 0.03%
  • PIMCO 1-3 Year U.S. Treasury Index Fund (TUZ), -0.20%
  • SPDR Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF (BIL), -0.04%
  • Schwab Short-Term U.S. Treasury ETF (SCHO), 0.16%
  • iPath US Treasury 2-year Bull ETN (DTUL), 0.03%
  • Vanguard Short-Term Government Bond ETF (VGSH), 0.38%
  • PowerShares Active Low Duration Portfolio (PLK), 0.32%

Learn more: How do short-term bonds compare to money market funds?

Intermediate-Term Government Bond ETFs

  • iShares Barclays 3-7 Year Treasury Bond Fund (IEI), 1.80%
  • iShares Barclays 7-10 Year Treasury Bond Fund (IEF), 3.66%
  • PIMCO Broad U.S. Treasury Index Fund (TRSY), 0.84%
  • PIMCO 3-7 Year U.S. Treasury Index Fund (FIVZ), 1.38%
  • PIMCO 7-15 Year U.S. Treasury Index Fund (TENZ), 2.73%
  • iShares Barclays U.S. Treasury Bond Fund (GOVT), 2.11% (February 27)
  • Schwab Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury ETF (SCHR), 2.06%
  • SPDR Barclays Intermediate Term Treasury ETF (ITE), 1.42%
  • Vanguard Intermediate-Term Government Bond ETF (VGIT), 2.19%

Long-Term Government Bond ETFs

  • iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLT), 2.41%
  • Vanguard Extended Duration Treasury ETF (EDV), 2.40%
  • SPDR Barclays Long Term Treasury ETF (TLO), 2.65%
  • iShares Barclays 10-20 Year Treasury Bond Fund (TLH), 3.55%
  • Vanguard Long-Term Government Bond ETF (VGLT), 3.29%
  • iPath US Treasury 10-year Bull ETN (DTYL), 7.42%
  • PIMCO 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury Index Fund (ZROZ), 0.96%

Learn more: What are the risks and benefits of long-term bond funds?

U.S. TIPS ETFs

  • iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (TIP), 6.15%
  • Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index Fund (VTIP), 0.56% (October 16)
  • Barclays 0-5 Year TIPS Bond Fund (STIP), 1.93%
  • iBoxx 3-Year Target Duration TIPS Index Fund (TDTT), 2.78%
  • iBoxx 5-Year Target Duration TIPS Index Fund Profile (TDTF), 5.45%
  • PIMCO 1-5 Year U.S. TIPS Index Fund (STPZ), 1.77%
  • PIMCO 15+ Year U.S. TIPS Index Fund (LTPZ), 10.91%
  • PIMCO Broad U.S. TIPS Index Fund (TIPZ), 6.10%
  • Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF (SCHP), 6.33%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital TIPS ETF (IPE), 6.60%

Learn more: How do TIPS work?

Mortgage-Backed Securities ETFs

  • Barclays Agency Bond Fund (AGZ), 1.45%
  • iShares Barclays MBS Fixed-Rate Bond Fund (MBB), 1.86%
  • Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF (VMBS), 2.25%
  • iShares Barclays GNMA Bond Fund (GNMA), 1.95% (February 22)
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Mortgage Backed Bond ETF (MBG), 2.09%
  • iShares Barclays CMBS Bond Fund (CMBS), 4.31% (February 16)

Learn more: What are mortgage-backed securities?

Municipal Bond ETFs

  • iShares S&P National Municipal Bond Index Fund (MUB), 4.95%
  • SPDR Barclays Municipal Bond ETF (TFI), 4.80%
  • Market Vectors Short Municipal Index ETF (SMB), 1.38%
  • PIMCO Short Term Municipal Bond Strategy Fund (SMMU), n/a
  • SPDR Barclays Short Term Municipal Bond ETF (SHM), 1.80%
  • S&P Short-Term National AMT-Free Municipal Bond Fund (SUB), 0.45%
  • Market Vectors Intermediate Municipal Index ETF (ITM), 6.20%
  • Grail McDonnell Intermediate Municipal Bond ETF (GMMB), 4.98%
  • PIMCO Intermediate Municipal Bond Strategy Fund (MUNI), n/a
  • iShares 2013 S&P AMT-Free Municipal Bond Series ETF (MUAB), 0.61%
  • iShares 2014 S&P AMT-Free Municipal Bond Series ETF (MUAC), 0.72%
  • iShares 2015 S&P AMT-Free Municipal Bond Series ETF (MUAD), 1.33%
  • iShares 2016 S&P AMT-Free Municipal Bond Series ETF (MUAE), 1.88%
  • iShares 2017 S&P AMT-Free Municipal Bond Series ETF (MUAF), 2.07%
  • Market Vectors AMT-Free Long Municipal Index ETF (MLN), 9.95%
  • SPDR Nuveen S&P High Yield Municipal Bond ETF (HYMB), 15.21%
  • Market Vectors High-Yield Municipal Bond Index ETF (HYD), 15.96%
  • Insured National Municipal Bond Portfolio ETF (PZA), 9.81%
  • Market Vectors Pre-Refunded Municipal Index ETF (PRB), 2.18%
  • Market Vectors CEF Municipal Income ETF (XMPT), 10.42%
  • Build America Bond Portfolio ETF (BAB), 10.73%
  • SPDR Nuveen Barclays Capital Build America Bond ETF (BABS), 12.52%
  • PIMCO Build America Bond Strategy Fund (BABZ), n/a
  • SPDR S&P VRDO Municipal Bond ETF (VRD), -0.27%
  • VRDO Tax-Free Weekly Portfolio ETF (PVI), 0.04%

California Municipal Bond ETFs

  • SPDR Barclays California Municipal Bond ETF (CXA), 8.38%
  • Insured CA Municipal Bond Portfolio ETF (PWZ), 8.55%
  • iShares S&P California Municipal Bond Fund (CMF), 7.08%

New York Municipal Bond ETFs

  • Insured NY Municipal Bond Portfolio ETF (PZT), 7.01%
  • iShares S&P New York Municipal Bond Fund (NYF), 6.02%
  • SPDR Barclays New York Municipal Bond ETF (INY), 6.26%

Learn more about: Investing in municipal bonds

Corporate Bonds

  • iShares iBoxx US Dollar Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (LQD), 10.24%
  • iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Credit Bond Fund (CSJ), 2.71%
  • iShares 10+ Year Credit Bond Fund (CLY), 10.70%
  • iShares Barclays Credit Bond Fund (CFT), 7.30%
  • iShares Barclays Intermediate Credit Bond Fund (CIU), 6.94%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (SCPB), 3.50%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Intermediate-Term Credit Bond ETF (ITR), 8.10%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Long-Term Credit Bond ETF (LWC), 9.01%
  • Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCSH), 5.57%
  • Vanguard Inter-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCIT), 10.53%
  • Vanguard Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCLT), 10.81%
  • PIMCO Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index Fund (CORP), 10.04%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Issuer Scored Corporate Bond ETF (CBND), 7.74%
  • Fundamental Investment Grade Corporate Bond Portfolio (PFIG), 4.94%
  • iShares Aaa – A Rated Corporate Bond Fund (QLTA), 6.09% (February 16)
  • iShares Baa-Ba Rated Corporate Bond Fund (QLTB), 7.21% (June 14)
  • iShares B-Ca Rated Corporate Bond Fund (QLTC), 8.07% (April 26)
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2013 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCD), 1.71%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2014 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCE), 3.45%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2015 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCF), 6.03%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2016 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCG), 7.03%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2017 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCH), 9.98%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2018 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCI), 7.21% (March 29)
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2019 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCJ), 7.24% (March 29)
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2020 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCK), 8.84% (March 29)
  • SPDR BofA Merrill Lynch Crossover Corporate Bond ETF (XOVR), 6.18% (June 20)

Learn more: The basics of investing in corporate bonds

Corporate Bond Sector ETFs

  • iShares Financials Sector Bond Fund (MONY), 9.77% (February 17)
  • iShares Industrials Sector Bond Fund (ENGN), 5.74% (February 22)
  • iShares Utilities Sector Bond Fund (AMPS), 5.16% (February 22)

Floating Rate Note ETFs

  • iShares Floating Rate Note Fund (FLOT), 4.20%
  • Market Vectors Investment Grade Floating Rate (FLTR), 8.61%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Investment Grade Floating Rate (FLRN), 2.64%

Learn more: What is a floating rate note?

High-Yield Bond ETFs

  • PIMCO 0-5 Year U.S. High Yield Corporate Bond Index Fund (HYS), 10.37%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term High Yield Bond ETF (SJNK), 6.89% (April 9)
  • iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (HYG), 11.05%
  • SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK), 12.83%
  • PowerShares Fundamental High Yield Corporate Bond Portfolio (PHB), 9.75%
  • Peritus High Yield ETF (HYLD), 13.31%
  • Market Vectors Fallen Angel Bond ETF (ANGL), 11.85% (April 11)
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2013 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJD), 7.05%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2014 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJE), 9.97%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2015 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJF), 11.34%
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2016 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJG), 7.06% (May 10)
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2017 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJH), 7.63% (May 14)
  • Guggenheim BulletShares 2018 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJI), 7.04% (May 10)

Learn more: The basics of investing in high-yield bonds

Leveraged Bank Loans

  • The PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (BKLN), 10.19%
  • Pyxis iBoxx Senior Loan ETF (SNLN), 1.25% (November 7)

Learn more: What are senior loans?

Developed Market International Government Bond ETFs

  • SPDR Barclays International Treasury Bond ETF (BWX), 5.66%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Short-Term International Treasury Bond ETF (BWZ), 2.98%
  • S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Fund (IGOV), 5.29%
  • S&P/Citigroup 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond Fund (ISHG), 1.58%
  • Madrona Global Bond ETF (FWDB), 7.80%
  • WisdomTree Asia Local Debt Fund (ALD), 7.09%
  • PowerShares DB Japanese Govt Bond Futures Exchange Traded Notes (JGBL), 2.16%
  • WisdomTree Australia & New Zealand Debt Fund (AUNZ), 9.06%
  • PIMCO Australia Bond Index Fund (AUD), 8.95%
  • PIMCO Canada Bond Index Fund (CAD), 4.36%
  • PIMCO Germany Bond Index Fund (BUND), 7.63%
  • WisdomTree Euro Debt Fund (EU), 14.56%
  • PowerShares DB Italian Treasury Bond Futures Exchange Traded Notes (ITLY), 32.81%
  • PowerShares DB German Bund Futures Exchange Traded Notes (BUNL), 4.42%
  • ProShares German Sovereign/Sub-Sovereign ETF (GGOV), 2.14% (January 30)

Learn more: Investing in international government bonds

Global TIPS

  • SPDR DB International Government Inflation-Protected Bond ETF (WIP), 14.57%
  • PIMCO Global Advantage Inflation-Linked Bond Strategy Fund (ILB), n/a
  • iShares International Inflation-Linked Bond Fund (ITIP), 14.56%
  • iShares Global Inflation-Linked Bond Fund (GTIP), 10.93%

Developed Market International Corporate Bond ETFs

  • Powershares International Corporate Bond Portfolio ETF (PICB), 15.80%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital International Corporate Bond ETF (IBND), 13.64%

Developed Market International High Yield Bond ETFs

  • iShares Global High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (GHYG), 9.25% (April 9)
  • Market Vectors International High Yield Bond Fund (IHY), 10.50% (April 3)
  • iShares Global ex USD High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (HYXU), 12.02% (April 3)

Emerging Market Bond ETFs

  • iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond Fund (EMB), 16.52%
  • Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Portfolio ETF (PCY), 20.82%
  • WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt Fund (ELD), 14.40%
  • Market Vectors Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond ETF (EMLC), 16.86%
  • Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond Fund (LEMB), 11.21%
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Emerging Markets Local Bond ETF (EBND), 13.98%
  • WisdomTree Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund (EMCB), 11.52% (March 8)
  • iShares Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund (CEMB), 8.71% (April 19)
  • SPDR BofA Merrill Lynch Emerging Markets Corporate Bond ETF (EMCD), 6.20% (June 20)
  • Market Vectors Emerging Markets High-Yield ETF (HYEM), 12.09% (May 14)
  • iShares Emerging Markets High Yield Bond Fund (EMHY), 17.11% (April 3)
  • Market Vectors LatAm Aggregate Bond ETF (BONO), 15.91%
  • PowerShares Chinese Yuan Dim Sum Bond Portfolio (DSUM), 8.35%
  • Market Vectors Renminbi Bond ETF (CHLC), 1.07%
  • Yuan Bond ETF (RMB), 1.30%

Learn more: Introduction to emerging market bonds

Specialty Bond ETFs

  • SPDR Barclays Capital Convertible Bond ETF (CWB), n/a
  • 1-30 Treasury Ladder Portfolio ETF (PLW), 2.84%
  • iPath US Treasury Flattener ETN (FLAT), 7.11%
  • iPath US Treasury Steepener ETN (STPP), -12.66%
  • ProShares 30 Year TIPS/TSY Spread (RINF), 5.49% (January 12)
  • ProShares Short 30 Year TIPS/TSY Spread (FINF), -8.79% (January 5)
  • PowerShares DB US Inflation ETN (INFL), 5.66%
  • PowerShares DB US Deflation ETN (DEFL), -10.90%
  • UltraPro 3x 10 Year TIPS/TSY Spread (UINF), -1.78% (February 10)
  • UltraPro 3x Short 10 Year TIPS/TSY Spread (SINF), -5.65% (February 10)
  • Convertible Securities Portfolio (CVRT), 10.58%
  • PowerShares CEF Income Composite Portfolio Fund (PCEF), 15.22%
  • ProShares USD Covered Bond ETF (COBO), 1.97% (June 14)

Leveraged Long ETFs

  • Direxion 10-Year Treasury Bull 3X - Triple-Leveraged ETF (TYD), 10.20%
  • Direxion 30-Year Treasury Bull 3X - Triple-Leveraged ETF (TMF), 0.50%
  • PowerShares DB 3x Long 25+ Year Treasury Bond ETN (LBND), 3.17%
  • iPath US Treasury Long Bond Bull ETN (DLBL), 5.25%
  • ProShares Ultra 20+ Year Treasury ETF (UBT), 2.75%
  • ProShares Ultra 7-10 Year Treasury ETF (UST), 6.69%
  • ProShares Ultra Investment Grade Corporate (IGU), 24.37%
  • ProShares Ultra High Yield (UJB), 24.40%
  • PowerShares DB 3x Italian Treasury Bond Futures Exchange Traded Notes (ITLT), 112.82%
  • PowerShares DB 3x German Bund Futures Exchange Traded Notes (BUNT), 16.48%
  • PowerShares DB 3x Japanese Govt Bond Futures Exchange Traded Notes (JGBT), 4.69%

Short Treasury ETFs (Those that bet against the market), %

  • iPath US Treasury Long Bond Bear ETN (DLBS), -10.73%
  • ProShares Short Barclays Capital 20+ Year U.S. Treasury Index Fund (TBF), -5.74%
  • Direxion Daily 20 Year Treasury Bear 1x Shares (TYBS), -6.67%
  • Direxion Daily Total Bond Market Bear 1x Shares (SAGG), -3.82%
  • iPath US Treasury 10-year Bear ETN (DTYS), -17.08%
  • Direxion Daily 7-10 Year Treasury Bear 1x Shares (TYNS), -4.44%
  • ProShares Short 7-10 Year Treasury (TBX), -5.37%
  • iPath US Treasury 2-year Bear ETN (DTUS), -2.41%
  • iPath US Treasury 5-year Bear Exchange Traded Note (DFVS), -9.68%
  • ProShares UltraShort Barclays 20+ Year Treasury (TBT), -12.22%
  • ProShares UltraShort 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF (PST), -9.54%
  • JP Morgan Double Short US 10 Year Treasury Futures ETN (DSXJ), (too small for an accurate return)
  • JP Morgan Double Short US Long Bond Treasury Futures ETN (DSTJ), -12.40%
  • ProShares UltraShort 3-7 Year Treasury 2x (TBZ), -4.86%
  • ProShares UltraPro Short 20+ Year Treasury 3x (TTT), -29.59% (March 29)
  • PowerShares DB 3x Short 25+ Year Treasury Bond ETN (SBND), -16.72%
  • Direxion Daily 7-10 Yr Trsy Bear 3X Shrs (TYO), -16.07%
  • Direxion Daily 20+ Yr Trsy Bear 3X Shrs (TMV), -20.19%
  • ProShares UltraShort TIPS ETF (TPS), -13.67%

Non-Treasury Short ETFs

  • ProShares Short Investment Grade Corporate (IGS), -12.46%
  • ProShares Short High Yield (SJB), -13.39%
  • PowerShares DB Inverse Japanese Govt Bond Future (JGBS), -2.35%
  • PowerShares DB 3x Inverse Japanese Govt Bond Future (JGBD), -6.57%

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