This Week In ETFs: January 8th Edition

by on January 8, 2011

The opening week of 2011 started off with a bang, as major indexes hit the ground running for the first two days of the week. After the Dow topped the 11,700 mark, the latter part of the week failed to establish any real trend for 2011, as equities remained relatively flat. The markets saw an unexpected rise in employment on Wednesday and reasonable unemployment claim levels on Thursday but this was soon canceled out on Friday when equities sold off thanks to a smaller-than-expected increase in jobs for the month of December. On the earnings front, several major firms released their reports this week, including Monsanto which helped to boost the agribusiness sector before markets focus in on the start of earnings season next week with big names such as Alcoa and Intel reporting.

The ETF world was active this week, as a total of four funds launched, including VIX funds, an aluminum fund, and an actively managed futures-based ETF. Below, we profile three interesting ETF articles from around the Web:

The Incredible Shrinking Fee at The Wall Street Journal:

The ETF world is no stranger to price wars, as major issuers have battled for the lowest fees on the market, in an effort to attract new investors. Popular examples of this trend include the gold fund IAU, which charges 0.25%, compared to GLD, which charges 0.40% for nearly identical exposure. In terms of issuers, Vanguard has been the front-runner of expense cuts, as they offer some of the most inexpensive ETP’s on the market, with some coming in as low as six basis points.  While slimming down funds by just several basis points may seem insignificant, Jonathan Burton explains how even the smallest expense cut can make all the difference in returns for an investors portfolio.

Four ETFs Impacted By Increasing Food Prices at ETF Tutor:

Global food prices have been on a steady rise, as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s monthly food price index rose for the sixth consecutive month, while an imbalance of supply and demand only further exacerbates the price spikes. Currently, emerging markets account for the majority of global food demand, but supply issues have created a pinch for these rapidly growing nations. In this article, Kevin Grewal outlines four funds to take advantage of rising food prices in order to protect their portfolios from this often forgotten form of inflation.

Best ETF Performers Of 2010: Winners For Every ETFdb Category at ETF Database:

2010 was a strong year for numerous asset classes, as our economy began the road to recovery. The ETF industry continued to surge forward, as the space as a whole eclipsed the $1 trillion in assets mark towards the end of the year. In this article, Michael Johnston outlines the top performers in each of our more than 60 ETFdb categories for 2010 (some of the top performers may surprise you!)

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.