October was a strong month for stocks overall, with the S&P 500 gaining 7%. While small caps and international equities did not do as well, there were gains to be made across a wide range of risky assets.

Not all of them, however.

With the major indexes advancing, the biggest losers this month were mostly sector, niche or country focused ETFs. There are a few that stand out. Pot stocks, in particular, have been a big loser, not necessarily because of everything that has or hasn’t happened over the month, but because that’s exactly what they’re doing. . The sector is incredibly volatile and it is not uncommon to see this sector make the top or bottom performer list in any given month.

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From an economic perspective, it’s easy to see countries struggling with high energy prices, high inflation, slower growth, COVID-related disruptions, or supply chain issues. tend to end up more likely to be on this list. Equities in general behave well, but investors favor a more conservative positioning within this group. This means developed markets (primarily the United States) in emerging markets and large caps in small caps. If you’re not in one of these two favorite bands, there’s a good chance you’ve underperformed.

Here is the list of the worst performing dividend ETFs for October 2021.

Each of the ETFs on this list lost more than 5% in October, but none performed as badly as the Cabot Growth ETF (CBTG), a fund that focuses on research and development, next wave technologies, booming consumer and business trends. Think of it as similar to ARK ETFs. The disruptive tech theme has been out of favor for most of 2021, so this year-long fund sadly got its start at a bad time. The performance of this fund is a bit odd as all the losses for the month are concentrated on a single day of huge volume (it traded 166,000 shares on a day when it would typically trade a few hundred). I think it’s more of an anomaly than anything else and I wouldn’t call it bad stock picking.

The Breakwave Dry Bulk Transport ETF (BDRY) is next and that shouldn’t be surprising. This extremely volatile fund appears to be on the top performer or worst performer list each month. Shipping costs are still high but seem to finally come down. Supply chains are (very) slowly starting to relax and that could be contributing to the pullback here. Either way, still expect a wild ride with this one.

The biggest loser in terms of industry performance for October is marijuana. The AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF (MSOS), ETFMG US Alternative Harvest ETF (MJUS), the Cannabis Growth ETF (BUDX), the ETF Amplifier Seymour Cannabis (CNBS), the AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF (YOLO), the Cannabis ETFs (THCX), the ETFMG Alternative Crop ETF (MJ) and the Global X Cannabis ETF (POTX) are all among the last 30 of October. Congratulations to Cambria Cannabis ETF (TOKE) to be the only major pot-based ETF to miss the cut!

Brazil (and, by extension, Latin America) is the other big loser. The country is currently crippled by 10% inflation, zero growth, and a central bank that is raising rates at a rapid pace in an attempt to quell soaring prices. He’s made progress on COVID, but the energy crisis has simply replaced him as the country’s biggest risk factor. The IShares MSCI Brazil ETF (EWZ) is down around 9% on the month and 20% year-to-date. 8 different ETFs targeting Brazil or Latin America are on this list.

Other ETFs to note:

Healthcare and biotechnology in particular have had a difficult month. The ETF Loncar China BioPharma (CHNA), the ETFMG Treatments, tests and advanced ETFs (GERM), the MSCI China Healthcare Global X ETF (CHIH), the Loncar Cancer Immunotherapy ETF (CNCR) and the ETF KraneShares Emerging Markets Healthcare (KMED) all lost 5-10%. Biotechnology has been consistently underperforming throughout 2021, and October has been particularly lousy despite the lack of a major economic or political catalyst. China’s weakness due to Evergrande’s default hasn’t helped.

Speaking of which, the ETF KraneShares Asia Pacific High Yield Bond (KHYB) marks the first time in several months that a bond fund has been on the list (I think the 25+ Years Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury Bond ETF (ZROZ) did it once). KHYB has a strong allocation to Chinese junk bonds, especially in real estate, so it’s pretty clear what has driven this ETF so far down.

The United States Natural Gas ETF (UNG) was one of the best performers in September, but natural gas prices have fallen significantly from their recent highs.

The US Global Jets ETFs (JETS) has been in line with a general consolidation in the leisure and entertainment space. This is exactly the type of industry that underperforms during an economic downturn, so we might see this trend pick up over time.

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