ETF Recap: Lawsuits, Facebook, And Fee Cuts (Oh My!)

by on June 2, 2012 | ETFs Mentioned:

The past week was a wild one on Wall Street: the stock market tumble was capped with a disappointing jobs report and a steep slide to finish trading on Friday. After closing out one of the worst months of the past several years, June got off on the wrong foot after an official jobs report showed the fewest gains in a year and the unemployment rate ticked higher to 8.2%. Gold finally regained some of its safe haven appeal, climbing more than 4% on Friday to settle at a multi-week high.

It was a rather eventful week for the ETF industry as well, with multiple new product launches, a quiet addition of a much-hyped Facebook into its first ETF, and news of big reductions in fees on a pair of commodity ETPs [for free ETF news and analysis every day, sign up for the ETFdb newsletter]: 

  • Facebook (FB) made its ETF debut as a component of the Global X Social Media ETF (SOCL), recently making up about 8% of total assets. That makes Facebook the third largest holding, behind LinkedIn and Tencent Holdings [see Which ETFs Will Hold Facebook (And When)].
  • United States Commodity Funds announced significant cuts to the fees on two of its newer products. The management expense ratios for both the United States Copper Index Fund (CPER) and United States Agriculture Index Fund (USAG) have been slashed from 0.95% to 0.65%.
  • Sage Quant Management became the latest company to throw its hat into the ETF ring. In an SEC filing, the Connecticut-based firm detailed plans for a “Low Volatility Dividend Fund.” The filing also included mention of future funds that could contain stocks or fixed income securities.
  • A Florida-based law firm announced a lawsuit related to the Daily 2x VIX Short Term ETN (TVIX), which experienced some significant swings in value earlier this year when creation of new shares resumed. TVIX was one of the big winners from a dismal week on Wall Street, surging higher as the VIX climbed past 26.
  • Exchange-Traded Concepts debuted the AlphaClone Alternative Alpha ETF (ALFA). The new fund will seek to mimic the portfolios of certain hedge fund managers who disclose stock positions in government filings. ALFA’s initial portfolio includes significant positions in Apple, Express Scripts, Simon Property Group, Liberty Media, and Pepsi.

Retirement ETFdb Portfolios: Clinging To YTD Gains

Not surprisingly, most of the ETFdb Model Portfolios were in negative territory last week after big declines in stock components. Our “plain vanilla” retirement-themed portfolios all lost ground during the past week, but generally remain in positive territory for the year:

ETFdb Portfolio 1 Week 4 Week 13 Week YTD 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year
Low Volatility Portfolio -0.23% -3.41% -2.06% 0.99% n/a n/a n/a
Aggressive Portfolio -0.55% -7.15% -8.93% 1.52% -8.23% n/a n/a
Cheapskate Portfolio -0.20% -4.94% -5.44% 1.86% -3.61% n/a n/a
Moderate Portfolio 0.03% -3.88% -4.08% 2.75% -0.90% n/a n/a
5 Years Til Retirement Portfolio -0.23% -3.30% -2.96% 2.91% 0.85% n/a n/a
10 Years Til Retirement Portfolio -0.22% -4.38% -4.48% 3.08% -1.22% 40.18% 6.48%
Ready To Retire ETFdb Portfolio 0.21% -1.83% -1.07% 3.28% 3.85% 36.19% 22.05%
30 Years Til Retirement Portfolio -0.44% -6.20% -6.55% 3.38% -4.31% 48.72% n/a
20 Years Til Retirement Portfolio -0.31% -5.55% -5.58% 3.81% -2.75% 45.55% n/a

Regional ETFdb Portfolios: Big May Losses

The region-focused model portfolios didn’t fare too well during the month of May, with declines of nearly 11% over the past four weeks for some. The Ex-Europe ETFdb Portfolio held up relatively well during the past month, though still experiencing a decline of close to 5%.

ETFdb Portfolio 1 Week 4 Week 13 Week YTD 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year
Euro Free Europe Portfolio -1.21% -10.92% -14.41% -3.62% -20.19% n/a n/a
Easy-As-ABC ETFdb Portfolio 0.34% -10.09% -14.59% -2.48% n/a n/a n/a
BRIC-or-Bust ETFdb Portfolio 0.28% -9.70% -16.72% -2.21% -24.07% n/a n/a
LatAm Centric ETFdb Portfolio -0.29% -10.43% -15.57% -2.13% -18.43% n/a n/a
Ex-U.S. Portfolio -0.32% -7.98% -10.65% 0.14% -13.99% 16.71% n/a
Asia-Centric ETFdb Portfolio 0.52% -6.67% -10.38% 1.26% -12.44% n/a n/a
Global Titans ETFdb Portfolio -0.17% -5.89% -6.73% 2.19% n/a n/a n/a
Ex-Europe ETFdb Portfolio  -0.00% -4.38% -4.80% 2.63% -1.79% 34.65% n/a
Emerging & Frontier Markets ETFdb Portfolio 0.10% -7.96% -10.27% 2.85% -11.57% n/a n/a
Africa-Centric Portfolio -0.97% -7.89% -10.68% 5.14% -12.99% n/a n/a

Themed ETFdb Portfolios

The Themed ETFdb Portfolios generally struggled this week, though there were a few bright spots. The Sky Is Falling ETFdb Portfolio held its ground, validating the unique combination of asset classes designed to perform well in chaotic environments. The King Dollar ETFdb Portfolio also held up, as the safe haven appeal of the greenback offered support.

ETFdb Portfolio 1 Week 4 Week 13 Week YTD 1 Year 3 Year 5 Year
Energy Bull ETFdb Portfolio -1.93% -10.69% -17.05% -8.41% n/a n/a n/a
GLD-Free Gold Bug ETFdb Portfolio -0.95% -6.95% -17.12% -8.01% -14.53% n/a n/a
Black Swan Hyperinflation Portfolio -1.56% -6.59% -12.70% -4.71% -12.69% n/a n/a
The Sky Is Falling Portfolio 0.02% 0.26% -4.49% -3.58% -0.33% n/a n/a
Futures Free Commodity ETFdb Portfolio -0.80% -8.78% -13.76% -3.55% -24.46% n/a n/a
Commodity Guru ETFdb Portfolio -1.50% -8.59% -12.43% -2.69% -15.43% n/a n/a
Cheapskate Hedge Fund ETFdb Portfolio -0.13% -2.02% -3.08% -2.37% n/a n/a n/a
Financials Free ETFdb Portfolio -0.34% -4.27% -5.58% -1.37% -2.96% 39.89% n/a
RAFI ETFdb Portfolio -0.42% -8.39% -12.32% -1.05% -14.44% 34.94% n/a
Simple (But Effective) Safe Haven ETFdb Portfolio 0.09% -3.64% -4.70% -0.37% -1.02% 42.45% n/a
AlphaDEX ETFdb Portfolio 0.28% -7.10% -8.84% -0.01% n/a n/a n/a
Pure Growth ETFdb Portfolio -0.54% -6.82% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Pure Value ETFdb Portfolio -0.10% -6.66% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Kitchen Sink ETFdb Portfolio -0.64% -5.59% -7.01% 1.07% n/a n/a n/a
2012 ETFdb Portfolio -0.62% -8.15% -9.68% 1.09% n/a n/a n/a
Socially Responsible ETFdb Portfolio -0.02% -5.73% -5.66% 1.28% -3.90% n/a n/a
Equal Weight ETFdb Portfolio 0.08% -4.29% -6.06% 1.40% -4.33% n/a n/a
Better-Than-AGG Total Bond Market ETFdb Portfolio 0.22% -0.90% -0.63% 1.62% n/a n/a n/a
Ben Graham 50/50 Portfolio -0.31% -3.11% -3.66% 1.72% n/a n/a n/a
King Dollar ETFdb Portfolio 0.25% -1.96% -2.56% 1.85% n/a n/a n/a
Greedy When Others Are Fearful ETFdb Portfolio -1.81% -6.46% -7.34% 2.32% n/a n/a n/a
High Yield ETFdb Portfolio 0.11% -3.54% -3.46% 2.34% 2.41% 49.73% n/a
Alpha Seeker Portfolio 2.0 -0.50% -4.97% -3.76% 2.62% -4.75% n/a n/a
High-Tax Bracket ETF Portfolio -0.34% -4.60% -4.78% 3.86% -2.57% 33.73% n/a
Small Cap ETFdb Portfolio 0.01% -5.57% -6.60% 3.89% n/a n/a n/a
Baby Boomers ETFdb Portfolio -0.50% -5.20% -3.85% 4.51% -1.79% n/a n/a
Actively-Managed ETF Portfolio -0.35% -3.50% -0.06% 4.88% -0.53% n/a n/a
High Tech ETFdb Portfolio -0.10% -7.65% -8.41% 4.88% n/a n/a n/a

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.