This Week In ETFs: December 31st Edition

by on December 31, 2011

The final week of trading in 2011 has shaped out be fairly tame relative to the volatile trading frenzy witnessed throughout the year. Looming debt woes on both sides of the Atlantic have paved the way for an uncertain economic backdrop that appears to be slowly spilling over into 2012. Amidst the turmoil, the ETF industry has experienced unprecedented growth as investors can now choose from over 1,400 different funds, including dozens upon dozens of unique offerings in virtually every asset class [see 25 Things Every Financial Advisor Should Know]. Given the string of positive economic data releases on the home front throughout the week, including improvements in consumer confidence and the housing market, many investors are looking to gain insights on how to favorably position their portfolios for the new year.

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

ETFs That Are New, But Not Improved at Smart Money:

Although the exchange-traded universe as a whole is without a doubt on a steep upward trajectory, many of the new launches this past year have failed to accumulate significant assets, perhaps foreshadowing a wave of closures in the foreseeable future. Author Ian Salisbury discusses the rapid growth in the industry and reveals surprising insights as to how industry insiders don’t actually expect the majority of new products “to work” per se. New products have hit the street at a rate of nearly one new fund per day over the past year, featuring many intriguing, hyper-targeted offerings [see Complete List of 2011 ETFs]. The article hints that investors should keep a look out for ETFs that fail to attract big inflows soon after they debut on the market.

Three Commodity Plays For 2012 at Commodity HQ:

Commodity markets have fallen victim to rampant profit-taking and chaotic trading throughout the year thanks to escalating worries of a global economic slowdown. Navigating the volatile futures markest can be a daunting tasks for many, and in this article, author Jared Cummans, outlines three enticing commodity plays for the coming year. Although quite risky, commodities have demonstrated the potential to serve as excellent diversifying agents in addition to potentially enhancing risk-adjusted returns. The investment ideas profiled in the article can be accessed through a variety of available exchange-traded products, allowing for mainstream investors to dip their toes in previously difficult to reach asset classes.

12 Rapid Fire ETF Ideas For 2012 at ETF Database:

A cloud of uncertainty continues to loom over financial markets, making it quite the challenge, even for seasoned veterans, to outline a viable investment strategy heading into 2012. Author Michael Johnston covers 12 ETF investment ideas for the new year that appear well positioned for success in an environment characterized by feuding optimism and pessimism. One of the ideas focuses on a domestic, sector-specific ETF that is poised to benefit from the upcoming presidential election at home. Other ideas are focused on profiting from the ever-expanding populations and rising levels of urbanization in emerging markets. In addition to covering a handful of “bullish” recommendations, this article also delves into some contrarian and defensive investment ideas.


Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.