All ETF Daily News Articles

China’s big gold buy barely kept pace with forex

goldSINGAPORE, April 24 - The big surprise in China's revelation on Friday that it has secretely added over 450 tonnes of gold to its foreign reserves over the past six years may be the fact that it hasn't bought far more than that. Now, many analysts say the rare public disclosure may be a prelude to Beijing accelerating its purchases -- possibly from big government agencies or central banks -- as it worries about the erosion of its $2 trillion cash pile. In the first public comment on top-secret gold holdings in years, Hu Xiaolian, head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), told Xinhua news agency that the country's reserves had risen by 454 tonnes from 600 tonnes since 2003. He said the gold had been purchased from domestic production. The figure confirmed what many gold bugs have suspected for years -- that Beijing has been quietly amassing reserves. The surprise is actually how conservative its approach has been. As a proportion foreign exchange reserves, which have risen five-fold over the same period, gold now stands at a tiny 1.6 percent, versus 1.7 percent in 2003, according to Reuters calculations, suggesting Chinese disenchantment with the dollar has yet to significantly influence its buying patterns. Full Story: Related Story:
NYSE:GLD April 27, 2009 9:04am

Uranium Rises for a Second Week on Speculation About ETF Buying (NLR)

uraniumApril 27 (Bloomberg) -- Uranium rose 6 percent, advancing for a second straight week, on speculation about possible buying of the nuclear fuel by an exchange-traded fund. Uranium-oxide concentrate for immediate delivery climbed $2.50 to $44 a pound, Denver-based pricing service TradeTech LLC said in a report on April 24. Prices gained in the prior week for the first time in almost six months. “Short-term bullish momentum may come from one of the uranium ETFs possibly raising money to buy uranium in the spot market over the next three to six months,” Max Layton, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd. in London, said by telephone. Nufcor Uranium Ltd., located in St. Martin, Guernsey, and Vancouver-based Uranium Participation Corp. are the world’s only publicly traded investment holding companies that invest in the nuclear fuel, according to a March 4 report by brokerage firm Raymond James & Associates Inc. “We are still strong believers that the spot price will double from its lows over the next two to three years as the market moves into deficit on strong Chinese demand growth,” Macquarie said in a report. The bank predicted a “return of investors” as prices increase. Full Story:
NYSE:NLR April 27, 2009 8:31am

Be an Oil Refiner in Your Spare Time

oil-refineryMost of us didn't aspire to the oil refining business as kids. Doctors or firefighters, maybe; not oil refiners. Nowadays, if the comments made on our weekly oil industry reports (see this week's at "Awash In Oil; Gasoline And Distillates, Too"), are to be believed, everybody wants to be a hydrocarbon cracker. Or at least make money like one. Upon reading that crack spreads (if you're not familiar with the terminology, see "Time For Crack Spreads") improved this week, one reader lambasted oil companies, saying: "If you can't squeeze consumers on crude, squeeze them at the pump." Well, consumers and investors can squeeze right back thanks to the exchange-traded fund market. ETF investors, in fact, are now doing better than refiners in the old crack game. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 26, 2009 9:41pm

FPA accredits ETF courses as part of professional development program

course1The Financial Planning Association has accredited courses in exchange traded funds (ETFs) as part of its continuing professional development program. The program was developed by ETF provider iShares Australia. “More and more intermediaries are recommending ETFs to their clients. And, as awareness of ETFs grows among Australian investors, there is greater need for intermediaries to be well informed [about] the benefits of ETFs and how they can be used in their clients' portfolios,” said co-head of iShares Australia Tim Bradbury. The first two training modules are about the basics and liquidity of ETFs. iShares will release more training modules in the next few months. According to a statement from the group, while there has not been any new information released on future courses, they were likely to include information on international trading and tax issues. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 26, 2009 8:58pm

Investing, ETF’s and the Swine Flu?

pigSARS affected Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and other Asia countries from November 2002 to June 2003. Business travel and tourism were dramatically cut, retail sales collapsed, impacting the already fragile economy (as it was just coming out of the 01-02 recession driving by collapse of Tech bubble)....... ......While I would hate to profit from something like this, in case the Swine Flu does turn out to be as widespread as the Asian SARS experience, the best investment opportunity for this is EWW (ETF for Mexico). However, as we follow WHO and other countries being impact, there may be other markets that may experience similar patterns. For those with more expertise in medicine, I'm sure there is a pharma / bio-tech play of some sort ... I'll leave it to them to capitalize on need of vaccine. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 26, 2009 5:14pm

Gold investment set to soar as market dynamics shifting

gold1INTERNATIONAL. Gold investment as a proportion of total demand is expected to reach a new high in the quarter as the structure of the market is changing, according to a senior World Gold Council(WGC) official. Marcus Grubb, managing director of investment research and marketing at the WGC, said: "You are seeing a shift in the dynamic of the gold market." In 2008, Gold Investment demand accounted for 30% of overall gold demand, while jewellery demand contributed approximately 58% of the total. Grubb explained that concerns over the global economy and a desire to diversify look set to reverse that trend. Speaking this week at an ETF securities seminar in London, he said: "The structure of the gold market is changing. In the first quarter I think investment demand could be higher than 30%." "ETF investment is in its infancy, and so is gold investment," he said. "Most allocations of gold are zero." "You would only need a small shift in allocations to gold in segments of private and institutional wealth where they're not currently invested to have a major impact, when mining supply is only 2,400 tonnes a year." He said gold supply was likely to be supported by scrap inflows, which he said will probably head above 1,500 tonnes this year, offsetting flat or slightly declining mine supply. "The growth in investment is extremely strong," he said. "It is being led to some extent by ETFs." Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 26, 2009 8:10am

Waiting for the Inverse Treasury ETF’s Glorious Day

debtWe have all heard that there is a great deal of U.S. debt owned by China and other Asian countries, but here is the breakdown of over $3 trillion that is on loan to the world. Obviously Ben and the team need to keep a lot of people happy and are continually juggling the needs of America with the concerns of the world. For now, rates will stay artificially low to keep all happy. There will be a time though that we see a change in the pricing, once the Fed stops purchasing non-stop. That day will be a glorious move for the Inverse 20-year Treasury ETF (TBT). Of course first we need to see our economy improving, so I don’t think that you will miss the move. Keep TBT on your watch list. Full Story:
NYSE:TBT April 26, 2009 8:03am

Leveraged ETFs Beat Margin

leverage2Leveraged ETFs are convenient, but are they more efficient and effective than traditional margin leverage? In this report we compare performance of both in up and down markets and consider qualitative differences. Overall, we find that leveraged ETFs are still the preferred method for making big bets on market direction. Traditionally leverage is obtained by borrowing money from a broker at margin loan rates and then either buying an ETF or selling it short. Alternatively, one can buy so-called leveraged ETFs which contain all leverage and margin costs. They come in long and short flavors and typically ratchet leverage up by a factor of two. First let us compare how the two strategies handle the ubiquitous S&P 500 in bull and bear markets. On the one hand we buy SPDR 500 (NYSEArca:SPY), the giant S&P 500 ETF, once with cash on hand and again on margin for double exposure. On the other hand we buy Rydex 2x S&P 500 (NYSEArca:RSU), a leveraged ETF targeting double daily returns (discussed later). RSU wins handily in the bear market of 2008 and just slightly in the March 2009 bull run: 
  Bear market: 2008 Bull market: March 9-31
SPY return - 34.6% 17.6%
SPY 2X -69.2% 35.2%
less 5% margin 5.0% 0.3%
net return -74.2% 34.9%
RSU -65.2% 36.5%
 When we consider a shorting scenario, results are mixed. Here we compare Rydex 2x Inverse S&P 500 (NYSEArca:RSW) which targets the inverse of double daily S&P 500 returns against a double short position where cash on hand is posted as collateral to short once and another short position is made with a margin loan. RSW trails by 8% during the 2008 bear market and wins in the 2009 spring bull market by 4%. 
  Bear market: 2008 Bull market: March 9-31
SPY return 34.6% -17.6%
SPY 2X 69.2% -35.2%
less 5% margin 5.0% 0.3%
net return 64.2% -35.1%
RSU 56.3% -31.5%
 Now we turn to the closely watched sector of financials. Here we compare ProShares Ultra Financial (AMEX:UYG), which tracks double daily returns of the Dow Jones Financial Index, against going long twice on iShares Dow Jones US Financial Sector ETF (NYSEArca:IYF), which tracks the same index without leverage. UYG wins handily during the 2008 bear market and again less dramatically during the Spring 2009 bull market: 
  Bear market: 2008 Bull market: March 9-31
IYF return -47.7% 35.6%
IYF 2X -95.3% 71.2%
less 5% margin 5.0% .03%
net return -100.3% 69.9%
UYG -83.3% 74.0%
Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 26, 2009 7:55am

How to Be a Better Investor With ETFs

investorGetting back into the market is nerve-wracking enough, let alone picking the stocks that you think are winners; by using exchange traded funds (ETFs) you can take the guesswork out and mitigate some of your risk. If you are thinking about getting back into the market but do not want to play a guessing game, a low-cost indexing approach may be the answer for your portfolio. Index funds take the guesswork out of investing by tracking the performance of an entire market sector, says Barbara Drury for the Sydney Morning Herald. The cost is much lower than paying a manager to pick the stocks for you in a traditional mutual fund, giving the ETF another plus. There are two types of index fund: listed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and unlisted index funds, and there are about 800 or so in the United States. ETFs can also be used as a tactical tool as they allow investors to trade them throughout the day just as you would a single stock. ETFs also have good tax advantages where earnings are given untaxed to investors. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 25, 2009 9:51pm

Saudi Tadawul index, is considering introducing exchange-traded funds (ETF)

saudi(INTERNATIONAL ETF NEWS) SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi stocks surged over 3% as petrochemical and banking shares led the index to a higher close on Saturday, paring losses incurred last week after a raft of negative quarterly earnings. The all-share index finished 3.13% higher at 5,380 points, having ended the trading week to Wednesday down almost 3%. All sectors made gains with the leading petrochemicals sector up 4.66%, banks 3.22%, retail 1.77%, real estate development 1.64% and telecoms 2.46%. Petrochemicals giant Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) advanced 5.83%, having lost 11% in the previous trading week on worse-than-expected earnings. Alinma Bank, which saw the heaviest volumes of the day, closed 2.17% higher at SAR11.7 per share. The Tadawul index, the largest and busiest bourse in the Middle East, said this week it is considering introducing exchange-traded funds (ETF) and taking further measures to boost transparency and ensure all listed firms comply with governance rules. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 25, 2009 2:09pm

This Volatility Is Off the Charts!

etf-news7The Motley Fool community is weighted toward investors, as opposed to traders. As such, it has been hard for many of us to stomach the constant drumbeat of the financial media's daily mantra that "buy-and-hold is dead." Whether they surface on CNBC, investing websites, or blogs, these diatribes generally focus on the trailing 10-year period, an admittedly tough one for stock returns. But they make it sound as if each of the past 10 years, rather than just the last 20 months, has been straight downhill for long-term investors. And they ignore the brutal past six months we long-term investors have endured, which have simultaneously provided more speculative traders with the closest thing to paradise-on-earth they've likely ever seen. As if we were not in the midst of a stupendous singularity In fact, our current level of volatility is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. According to Yahoo! Finance, which lists high-low-close data for the S&P 500 index going back to March 1950, the average daily change in the value of the index over the previous 60 years has been a tad less than 0.6%. In 2006, it was 0.5%. In 2007, it was 0.7%. In 2008, the average daily change in the value of the S&P index was 1.7%. This is a huge variation: 300% of normal volatility, on average, day in and day out, for a year! Given the staggering trading volume of highly liquid (and relatively new) exchange-traded funds, this may not come as a surprise. After all, Proshares QQQ Trust (Nasdaq: QQQQ), SPDRs (NYSE: SPY), and the iShares Russell 2000 (NYSE: IWM) do more than 70 million shares per day in trading volume Full Story:
NASDAQ:QQQ April 25, 2009 9:45am

Sticking to ETFs? Take this refresher course

exchange-traded-fundsI am sure followers of this column also follow Don Vialoux's Tech Talk, which is a brisk and refreshing daily commentary on the capital markets. On Wednesday, Don quoted a recent study by Standard & Poor's titled "Indexes beat most managers." Apparently, over the past five years, 70 per cent of U.S. large-cap fund managers who use the S&P 500 as a benchmark for comparisons have failed to match the performance of the index over that time. Vialoux recommends sticking to exchange-traded funds. Aside from the higher fees, the major difference between a managed (or active) mutual fund and an exchange-traded fund is an active manager directing the mutual fund's holdings. An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is basically a buy-and-hold basket of stocks. The manager of a mutual fund is paid to outperform his or her "peer" group, which can be other related mutual funds or a relevant index such as technology, energy, large-cap value or small-cap growth. For example, the manager of a U.S. large-cap value fund should strive to outperform the S&P 500 or the related ETF such as the NYSE-listed SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (SPY). The active fund manager has the disadvantage of higher costs because of his or her fee piled on top of trading and marketing costs. The active fund manager must overcome this by adding value in the form of risk management. Risk management implies the active manager can weed out overpriced stocks in the portfolio and replace them with overlooked "cheaper" stocks. The buy-and-hold index and the ETF peers ignore the changing valuations within the holdings. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 25, 2009 8:19am

5 Reasons Why ETFs Are Superior to Stock Picking

5Should exchange traded funds (ETFs) be avoided? While we know the benefits of ETFs, sometimes people need a little convincing about their merits when it comes to these funds vs. active management. According to Wayne Pinsent for Investopedia, index investing is not the way to reach personal investing goals. He makes the case that buying an index and letting it ride is all well and good, but that stocks aren’t always rational. We’ll list his points first, then counter with our own: 1. Pinsent Says: Downside protection. ETFs will go up when the markets are up, but an investor may be caught in the downward spiral when the markets are down. ETF Trends Says: If you have an exit strategy and use it faithfully, you won’t be vulnerable on the downside. There are also long/shorts that allow you to hedge your current positions, if you’d like to. 2. Pinsent Says: Reactive ability. At times, one company may do well and pull everyone one up, which could create a sector that is overvalued, and vice versa. Investors can gauge companies individually if they are undervalued or overvalued. ETF Trends Says: ETFs offer so many different strategies to help investors minimize this risk. There’s value-weighting, but there’s also equal weight, revenue weight and more. And again, if one company sinks the whole ship, bring out the exit strategy. Also, there’s not a limited number of indexes out there. Another upside to ETFs is that they help spread around the risk a little. Full Story:
ETF BASIC NEWS April 24, 2009 8:45pm

Earnings, banks lift Wall St; Nasdaq up for 7th week

bullmoneyThe KBW Bank index (.BKX) rose 2.9 percent while the Select Sector SPDR Financial ETF (XLF.P) gained 2.6 percent. NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stocks rallied on Friday as earnings showed companies have weathered the recession and economic data raised hopes the economic cycle may have hit a bottom. Investors were also undeterred by a government release of a much anticipated concept paper on stress tests for the 19 biggest U.S. financial services companies. American Express (AXP.N) gave the most fuel to the Dow's rise, shooting up nearly 21 percent to $25.30 a day after reporting results that topped analysts' expectations, helped by aggressive cost cutting. Ford Motor Co (F.N) also posted a smaller-than-expected first-quarter loss and said it was on track to at least break even in 2011 and did not expect to seek U.S. government loans, sending its shares up 11.4 percent to $5. Economic data also fed the buying frenzy after durable goods orders slipped in March, but fell far less than Wall Street expected. Sales of new single-family homes dropped, but inventories plummeted at a record pace. Full Story:
NYSE:XLF April 24, 2009 4:20pm

Health Care ETFs Drop on Profit Concerns

healthcare-etfsEarnings season looks more like flu season as sneezing health care stocks sickened the performance of exchange-traded funds. During the five trading days that ended Thursday, the 79 health care ETFs we track lost 2.9%, on average. The only exception was the ProShares UltraShort Health Care Fund (RXD), which sells the sector short to generate an inverse performance. The S&P 500 Index was little-changed during the week. The worst-performing health care fund was the Rydex 2X S&P Select Sector Health Care ETF (RHM), which dropped 6.8%. The fund's two largest holdings Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Pfizer (PFE) slipped 1.5% and 4.5%, respectively......... ............The ProShares Ultra Health Care Fund(RXL) and the ProFunds Health Care UltraSector ProFund (HCPIX) had the second- and third-biggest declines of the group. Both portfolios aim to track the daily performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index with 200% and 150% leverage, respectively. Full Story:
NYSE:RXD April 24, 2009 3:52pm

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