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A sometimes rocket-fueled star of the investment markets, the natural resources sector has stood out the past half-decade – for underperformance.

Funds dominated by metals, minerals and oil companies didn’t just lag broad indexes, they turned in an average annual loss of 7.3% for the past five years. Ouch.

To add insult to injury, the worst performers aren’t even cheap to buy. While expense ratios industrywide are largely caught in a race to the bottom, the average expense ratio on this list is more than 1% (17 out of 20 are over 50 basis points). By comparison, the S&P 500, as measured by the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO), had a five-year return of 14.4% and an expense ratio of just 4 basis points.

To be sure, the pendulum can change abruptly, as some of the funds on this list have posted gains so far this year in the double digits. Others, though, have continued their losses.

Scroll through to see which funds with assets over $500 million have had the worst results the past five years. All data from Morningstar.


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