This Week In ETFs: July 23rd Edition

by on July 23, 2010

It was another wild week on Wall Street as earnings season continued to unfold, putting a variety of blue chips in focus. While earnings remained in the spotlight for much of the week, investors were dismayed by testimony from Fed Chair Ben Bernanke who hinted at the possibility of using more tools in order to boost the economy including ending interest payments on reserves that private banks keep at the Fed. This news sent markets plunging on Wednesday as the ever-present specter of a double -dip returned to the forefront of the economic discussion. However, markets bounced back thanks to robust earnings on the back of solid top-line growth across a multitude of industries. Companies like Apple, AT&T, Halliburton, and Morgan Stanley beat their estimates, while others like Amazon, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, and Goldman Sachs saw their share prices tumbling with light revenues. In political news, unemployment benefits were extended again, the eighth extension since July 2008, and President Obama signed a bill into law that will overhaul the way many banks operate in a reform that has been called the biggest piece of financial legislation since the 1933 and 1934 Acts in the middle of the Great Depression. Below, we profile a few of the most interesting stories that came out during this exciting week in the world of ETFs:

iShares’ Latham: Don’t Expect Price Wars at Index Universe:

Index Universe chats with Mike Latham, the new global head of iShares, on the recent prices cuts made to the expense ratios on their gold ETF and more. The global head states that iShares will not be involved in a price war with Vanguard, and will instead try to focus on providing the best service possible to their clients with unique products. Latham stated that iShares’ next move is to continue global expansion, with more investments in a number of emerging markets which currently are relatively inaccessible for most American investors. He then goes on to describe their up-and-coming active ETFs and what investors should expect in the early stages of this ongoing process.

Poor ETF Trade Execution Is A Commission at Morningstar:

In the past year, offering commission free trades to brokerage customers has become a growing trend among many ETF issuers with Schwab, Vanguard, Fidelity, and iShares all providing certain clients with this deal. Many Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) use some of these brokerages as their custodian and are purchasing these ETFs for their clients arguably due to the lure of commission-free trading. However, due to severely limited offering of commission-free funds, clients may not be have access to all the options and diversity that may be more suitable for their portfolio. Many RIA’s are accused of using commission prices as the most important factor for choosing ETFs for their clients, when according to this article, it should be one of the least important aspects of choosing the right fund.

New ETF Tool: Country Exposure On Demand at ETF Database:

ETF Database is proud to roll out our latest tool to aid investors in choosing the right ETF based upon country exposure. The results of a search will exclude leveraged ETFs, but give investors a list of ETFs that are both pure plays as well as those with just holdings in the specific country chosen. Users will be able to either click on an interactive world map, or use a drop-down box to choose a specific country. The tool is completely free with no membership requirements or usage limits. “We’re excited to introduce a free tool that allows investors to navigate the rapidly expanding universe of ETFs with improved agility,” said Andy Hagans, co-founder of ETF Database. “This robust new tool will be a powerful resource for advisors, institutional investors, and individuals alike.”

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.