Futures Market Winners/Losers of 2013

With a scant few hours until the ball drops in Times Square – the quote machines have gone silent, meaning we can wrap a nice bow on 2013 market performance and see where the chips fell. All those who had the 3x Long Nikkei, 3x Short Corn trade on in 2013 raise your hands, you’re on your way to induction in the trading hall of fame (or running the next hot ETF). Per our preferred quote site, Finviz.com, we find the following 2013 performance stats for futures markets

[Please note – Finviz does some weird things around contract rolls, which can make their percentage gains over longer periods different than what would be found using a continuous contract or the cash/spot market, nonetheless, we feel it is representative of each market’s 2013 movements]:

Finviz Commodity ExposureChart Courtesy: Finviz.com
(Disclaimer: Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results)

Some of the highlights as we see them:

  • It was a roughly 50/50 split between up and down markets this year (20 of 39 [51%] up), compared with 80% in 2012, 40% in 2011 and 85% in 2010
  • The top 5 spots were all held by stock index futures, with the DJIA, S&P, Nasdaq, and Nikkei all posting over 26% gains.
  • Corn was slaughtered, down nearly -40% to capture the worst performer title
  • Supposed safe havens Gold and Silver were both down more than 28%, finishing the year near 3 year lows
  • Only 3 non stock index markets were up more than 15% (Orange Juice, Cocoa, and Natural Gas)
  • 8 markets were down more than -15% (Sugar, Yen, Soy Oil, Wheat, Coffee, Gold, Silver, and Corn)
  • Gold, Silver, Platinum, Corn, Soy Oil, Wheat, Yen, 30yr Bonds, 10yr Notes, and the Canadian and Aussie Dollars all finished the year near their lows
  • Stock Indices, Cattle, Euro, Swiss, and British Pound finished the year near their highs
  • For all the Taper, QE, money printing, rising interest rates, etc. talk, the US Dollar was essentially flat for the year

What will 2014 bring?  A crash in the US Dollar as the US fails to get its financial house in order?  A sharp rebound in grain prices?  Another losing year for gold? The much expected sell off in US treasuries? None of the above?

Luckily, managed futures investors don’t need to know the answers to those questions in order to have a successful 2014. The managers don’t even need to know the answers, they just need to be able to identify and capture any such moves when they happen (no small task, to be sure; as we’ve seen in recent years….but more than a few will be up to the task).



  1. […] The 2013 futures markets winners and losers (Attain Capital) […]

  2. […] from corn to gold to sugar took a dive while natural gas and stock market futures took off. Attain capital pointed out a near 50/50 split between gains and losses for the 39 futures markets it tracks. […]

Speak Your Mind


Interested in distributing or reprinting this content? Check out our reprint policy here.


Forex trading, commodity trading, managed futures, and other alternative investments are complex and carry a risk of substantial losses. As such, they are not suitable for all investors.

The entries on this blog are intended to further subscribers understanding, education, and – at times- enjoyment of the world of alternative investments through managed futures, trading systems, and managed forex, and is not intended as investment advice, or an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. Unless distinctly noted otherwise, the data and graphs included herein are intended to be mere examples and exhibits of the topic discussed, are for educational and illustrative purposes only, and do not represent trading in actual accounts. Opinions expressed are that of the author.

*The mention of specific asset class performance (i.e. +3.2%, -4.6%) is based on the noted source index (i.e. Newedge CTA Index, S&P 500 Index, etc.), and investors should take care to understand that any index performance is for the constituents of that index only, and does not represent the entire universe of possible investments within that asset class. And further, that there can be limitations and biases to indices such as survivorship and self reporting biases, and instant history.

The mention of general asset class performance (i.e. managed futures did well, stocks were down, bonds were up) is based on Attain’s direct experience in those asset classes, estimates of performance of dozens of CTAs followed by Attain, and averaging of various indices designed to track said asset classes.

It should be noted that past market performance is not indicative of future market movement.No market data or other information is warranted by Attain Capital Management as to completeness or accuracy, express or implied, and is subject to change without notice.

Managed Futures Disclaimer:

Past Performance is Not Necessarily Indicative of Future Results. The regulations of the CFTC require that prospective clients of a managed futures program (CTA) receive a disclosure document when they are solicited to enter into an agreement whereby the CTA will direct or guide the client’s commodity interest trading and that certain risk factors be highlighted. The disclosure document contains a complete description of the principal risk factors and each fee to be charged to your account by the CTA.