I started to do research on which ETFs kept or increased their value over a recession in 2008-2009.

  1. I saw a lot of articles which says "invest in X, because X is always in demand (even in crisis)." X could be water, utilities, food or anything like that. I checked some tickers for 2008 and 2009 and lo and behold, they fell 50% (pretty much the same way as S&P).

  2. I read about some ETF which is specifically designed to be stable (as an example short term corporate bonds). I checked them and found that a lot of them were created at 2010-2011. Great, it actually never went through a full-blown recession to prove that it's stable.

  3. Gold. Just checked SPDR and it went the same way as S&P (crashed 50%).

The only thing which I found that behaved the way you expect (kept they value or increased it were Proshare Short ETFs.

I am curious what other ETFs kept their value in the last recession?

p.s. I am not looking for a investment advice. This is for research purposes only.

  • 1
    Take a look at long duration treasury (TLT)
    – user67084
    Mar 4, 2019 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


In the 2008 bear market, with equities, there was nowhere hide. When the market was down 50+ pct from 2008 to March of 2009, the best performing SPDR sector (with dividend reinvestment) was Consumer Staples which lost 31% and the worst was Financials which lost 76%.

It's debatable if gold performed well because for the calendar year of 2008, it dropped 30% before recovering and ending up 4% for the year.

The only winners were bond funds and some currency ETFs.

Per ETFdb. com, here's a list of 2008 ETF winners:


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