From the monthly archives:

September 2009

Does RIMM’s Slump Signal Trouble For Tech ETFs?

by on September 25, 2009 | Updated September 29, 2009

Research in Motion (RIMM), the Canadian maker of the popular Blackberry device, is taking a beating today, with its shares down more than 15% in early trading. The company reported weaker than expected revenue for the quarter ended in August and gave disappointing earnings guidance for the upcoming third. The news sparked a host of downgrades from the likes of Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and Raymond James, all of whom have expressed their doubt in RIMM’s ability to maintain market share in North America without slashing prices. After maintaining a stranglehold on the smartphone market for years, RIMM is now facing formidable competition from Apple, Palm and Motorola, and the impact on the bottom line is staggering. RIMM earned two cents per share more in last year’s quarter ending in August despite the fact that the company did over a billion dollars less in revenue, showing how quickly their margins have fallen in such a short period of time. [click to continue…]

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Don Dion, who covers ETFs for TheStreet.com and runs Dion Money Management, recently wrote a three part series highlighting the “10 Most Dangerous ETFs”. Dion notes that as the ETF industry continues to expand beyond “plain vanilla” funds, investors are introduced to products that can face significant liquidity issues, be subject to increased regulatory scrutiny, and carry “unprecedented risks” associated with their complex and non-traditional strategies. While I agree with most of Dion’s analysis (and certainly share his view that there are a number of complex ETFs that should be limited to the most sophisticated investors), I feel it’s necessary to defend a few of the ETFs that made the list:  [click to continue…]

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The Cold War may have ended decades ago, but relations between the U.S. and Russia have never fully recovered. In recent years, tensions between these world powers have been particularly strained, as the countries clashed on issues including democracy, missile defense, NATO expansion, and independence for Kosovo. Concerns of armed conflict and nuclear war are [...]

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Deloitte Research recently released a study examining the rapid rise of the ETF industry, its future prospects, and, of course, the relationship between ETFs and actively-managed mutual funds going forward. Some of the highlights from the study:

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Charles Schwab, one of the world’s largest brokerage and asset management firms, has hired Dustin Lewellyn, the latest indication the firm is gearing up to make a splash in the ETF industry. Lewellyn was formerly the ETF head at Northern Trust, which abandoned its ETF business earlier this year after only a year of operations. [...]

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Since it was tabbed for inclusion in the BRIC bloc of countries in 2001, Brazil has been a popular choice for investors around the globe. The world’s fifth most-populous nation has seen tremendous economic growth over the last decade, bolstered by sound economic policies that have kept interest rates and inflation in check. A resource-rich [...]

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Index Universe is reporting that two new ETFs meeting the requirements of Shari’ah law could be on the way, including the ShariahShares FTSE USA Fund and the ShariahShares FTSE Developed ex-U.S. Fund. The U.S. fund will reportedly invest in nearly 250 mid- and large-cap companies, while the ex-U.S. Fund will invest in stocks in 25 [...]

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“Net neutrality” sounds like the latest brainless Nic Cage movie, but is actually a rather complex issue that could have a major impact on the telecommunications sector in coming months. In the latest battle between phone and cable companies and the FCC, the stakes are high, and the ultimate resolution could have affect the daily [...]

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ETF Plays Ahead Of G-20 Summit

by on September 23, 2009

On Thursday and Friday, the leaders of 19 of the most powerful nations, as well as the leader of the European Union, will meet in the Steel City to discuss a variety of topics ranging from economic integration to energy policy. Pittsburgh was chosen to highlight the dramatic shift in fortunes following the city’s struggles [...]

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Earlier this week, the AdvisorShares Dent Tactical ETF (DENT), co-managed by best-selling author and well-known investor Harry Dent, hit the market. The launch of the new Dent fund has drawn attention primarily because of the firepower and starpower behind the fund. But the launch of DENT highlights a bigger trend in the investment industry:  ETFs, [...]

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Global X Funds, the New York-based ETF provider that was the first to offer funds focusing on Colombia and the Nordic region, has filed for approval with the SEC to launch six new ETFs that focus on various sectors of the Chinese economy. The proposed funds include:

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ETFs muscled their way into investor portfolios on the strength of their popularity among smaller retail investors, but their next growth spurt might be driven by increasingly widespread acceptance among big investors who recognize the benefits of the exchange-traded structure relative to traditional separate accounts. Thao Hua at Pensions & Investments has an interesting take [...]

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