The first three months of 2010 saw dozens of new ETF product launches, but things really headed up in April. This past month saw the launch of more than two dozen ETFs, making it the most active month of 2010. PowerShares and ProShares were particularly active on the product development front, debuting a number of new ETFs. And the product pipeline continued to fill last month as well, with a handful of issuers filing details on interesting products.
Highlights from the ETF industry in April include:
- UBS launched the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index (MLPI). MLPI is designed to track the performance of the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index and pay a variable quarterly coupon linked to the cash distributions paid on the Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) included in the index.
- GlobalShares launched three new ETFs in April: the FTSE All-Cap Asia Pacific Ex Japan Fund (GSZ), FTSE All-World ex U.S. Fund (GSO), and FTSE All-World Fund (GSW). GSZ will track the performance of the FTSE All Cap Asia Pacific Ex Japan Index, GSO will track the performance of the FTSE All-World ex U.S. Index, and GSW will track the FTSE All-World Index.
- Van Eck launched the Small Cap Latin America ETF (LATM). LATM, which will seek to replicate the performance of the Market Vectors Latin America Small-Cap Index, will be the first U.S.-listed ETF offering exposure to small cap stocks in Latin America.
- Powershares introduced nine S&P SmallCap Sector Portfolios based upon respective S&P SmallCap 600 Capped Sector Indexes, each of which is designed to measure the overall performance of common stocks of a respective sector. Powershares launched the S&P SmallCap Consumer Discretionary Portfolio (XLYS), S&P SmallCap Consumer Staples Portfolio (XLPS), S&P SmallCap Energy Portfolio (XLES), S&P SmallCap Financials Portfolio (XLFS), S&P SmallCap Health Care Portfolio (XLVS), S&P SmallCap Industrials Portfolio (XLIS), S&P SmallCap Information Technology Portfolio (XLKS), S&P SmallCap Materials Portfolio (XLBS), and the S&P SmallCap Utilities Portfolio (XLUS).
- Proshares kicked off two new 2x leveraged ETFs, the Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology (BIB) and the UltraShort Nasdaq Biotechnology (BIS). BIB will seek to provide 200% of the return on the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index for a single day and BIS will seek daily returns equal to -200% of the daily movement in the same benchmark.
- Credit Suisse introduced the Cushing 30 MLP ETN (MLPN), an exchange-traded note offering exposure to a benchmark composed of 30 companies that hold mid-stream energy infrastructure assets in North America.
- Javelin funds started the JETS Contrarian Opportunities Index Fund (JCO), an ETF that will seek to replicate the performance of the Dow Jones U.S. Contrarian Opportunities Index.
- First Trust debuted its the First Trust BICK Index Fund (BICK). BICK is designed to track the most liquid and largest companies in the four BICK countries (Brazil, India, China, and Korea) by following the ISE BICK Index.
- IndexIQ launched the South Korea Small Cap ETF (SKOR). SKOR will seek to replicate the performance of the IQ South Korea Small Cap Index.
- Global X introduced silver and copper miner ETFs in April, launching the Copper Miners ETF (COPX) and Silver Miners ETF (SIL). SIL seeks to replicate the performance of the Solactive Silver Miners Index, and COPX will track the Solactive Global Copper Miners Index.
- ProShares kept busy by launching two more leveraged ETFs just weeks after their biotechnology launch. The Ultra KBW Regional Banking (KRU) will seek daily returns equal to 200% of the return on the KBW Regional Banking Index, while the Short KBW Regional Banking (KRS) will seek to provide -100% of the return on the same benchmark.
- Just a week after its Regional Banking launch, ProShares put out another four ETFs focusing on Europe, Pacific ex-Japan, Brazil and Mexico. Ultra MSCI Europe (UPV) seeks daily results equal to 200% of the MSCI Europe Index. Ultra MSCI Pacific ex-Japan (UXJ) seeks daily results equal to 200% of the MSCI Pacific ex-Japan Index. Ultra MSCI Brazil (UBR) seeks daily results equal to 200% of the MSCI Brazil Index. Ultra MSCI Mexico Investable Market (UMX) seeks daily results equal to 200% of the MSCI Mexico Investable Market Index.
In addition to all of the new funds highlighted above, April saw several interesting filings as well. These proposed ETFs will cover a variety of asset classes including Treasuries, volatility, and automotive stocks.
- Russell, a powerful index leader in the ETF industry, has filed to launch 11 new ETFs including a Russell 1000 Global ETF, Russell Global 2000 ETF, and a Russell Global 3000 Growth ETF.
- Direxion filed for 36 new funds, including a couple non-leveraged products. The Direxion Auto Shares would seek to match the performance of the Indus Global Auto & Auto Suppliers Index, a benchmark that consists of approximately 30 companies engaged in the manufacturing, maintenance, or retailing of automobiles.
- Charles Schwab, who has had a great start to their recent ETF openings, has filed to launch a TIPS ETF. This ETF would track the performance of the Barclays Capital U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS) Index (Series L), the same benchmark replicated by the ultra-popular iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (TIP)
- Jefferies Asset Management has filed to launch the Jefferies S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXX), a product that would seek to replicate the performance of a benchmark comprised of futures on the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX.
Also in April, Rydex announced that it will be closing 12 of its leveraged and inverse ETFs. The last trading day of these funds will be May 21st.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.