This Week In ETFs: December 11th Edition

by on December 11, 2011 | ETFs Mentioned:

Last week’s hopeful surge in the markets were quickly overshadowed this week with worse-than-expected news from overseas, contributing to the never-ending cycle of the European debt crisis. Major stock indexes remained unchanged earlier in the week then dropped during Thursday’s trading session as investors digested the latest euro-zone developments. The European Central Bank announced its 25 basis point rate cut and to investor’s disappointment, revealed their plan to cap their bond buying program to €20 billion per week. Stock markets ended higher on Friday as investors welcomed a better-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence number from a University of Michigan report as well as news of a budget deal overseas. 

After a slow-stretch over the last two weeks, the ETF industry picked up the pace with the launch of 7 new exchange-traded products, helping set a new industry record of nearly 300 new products hitting the markets this year. Investors were introduced to the very first fund to offer pure play exposure to Greece with Global X’s debut of their FTSE Greece 20 ETF (GREK). Other note worthy launches include Invesco PowerShares suite of inflation and deflation ETNs as well as Direxion’s two new insider sentiment ETFs.

Below, we outline the best ETF stories from around the web this past week:

Vangaurd’s BND Overtakes iShares’ AGG at IndexUniverse:

As the ETF industry continues to expand, investors can now chose from approximately 1,400 products that offer access to nearly every corner of the investable universe. With competition  heating up, there are a number of funds that offer almost identical exposure but at vastly different costs. For example, Vanguard’s total bond market fund, BND, is almost identical to iShares’ AGG, which costs twice as much as BND. This article, by Alex Ulam and Oliver Ludwig, explains how the cheaper BND has been able to surpass and outperform iShares’ AGG.

ETF Stats For November 2011: Yearly Launches Set New Record at Invest With An Edge:

With 2011 coming to a close, a look back at the tremendous growth of the ETF industry shows a record breaking 292 new ETP launches just this year. These new additions have tipped the total count of exchange-traded products to just over 1,400. In this article, author Ron Rowland outlines the size and performance of the ETF industry for the month of November as well as the month’s new launches.

Ten Unexpected Observations On YTD ETF Returns at ETF Database:

2011 is turning out to be a generally impressive year despite the wild, back-and-forth swings and highly volatile environment. The ETF industry has seen its fair share of both hope and despair this year with some surprising developments arising along the way. In this article, author Michael Johnston outlines ten unexpected observations on year-to-date ETF returns, including both pleasant surprises and bitter disappointments.

 Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.