After closing out the first quarter on a positive note, stock markets seemed to take a slight tumble this week, posting some of the biggest weekly declines in 2012. Disappointing economic data coupled with less than cheery news from overseas helped curb the bullish momentum that has been dominating markets so far this year. On Friday, U.S. nonfarm payrolls were announced to have increased by just 120,000 in March, well below the expected 203,000 prediction. Although stock and commodity markets were closed in observance of Good Friday, the futures and bond markets remained open and were left to bear the brunt of the disappointing U.S. data: futures immediately dropped on open, while bond yields fell as investors shifted towards their safe haven investments [see also 5 ETF Plays For Doomsday Predictions].
The ETF industry picked up the pace this week with 9 new funds hitting the markets. Guggenheim beefed up their BulletShares Bond ETF lineup with three new funds, while iShares introduced 2 new Ex-U.S. Junk Bond ETFs and 2 more High Yield ETFs.
Below we outline three of the best ETF stories from around the web this past week:
High-Speed Trading Hurts ETFs at IndexUniverse:
Over the last few years, financial markets have undergone several evolutionary changes. One of the most noticeable changes has been the transition from bits to pits, the new era of high-speed, automated trading. Supporters of this new trend argue that high-speed trading improves liquidity in the markets, which results in lower transaction costs for investors. In this article, author Paul Britt outlines his case for why high-speed trading actually hurts the markets and ETFs.
iShares ETFs: The Top 10 Performers at InvestmentU:
A lot has changed since the mid-90s when ETFs first started to enter the markets. Over the last decade, the number of ETFs has increased more than 10-fold, allowing investors to choose from more than 1,400 products. As the industry continues to grow, there is one issuer who remains at the top of the list, dominating market share at 46%: iShares. In this article, author Mike Kapsch highlights the top 10 performing ETFs from this powerhouse issuer.
4 Sector ETFs Up Over 20% YTD at ETF Database:
Since the start of the new year, bullish momentum has been a force to be reckoned with on Wall Street. Positive economic developments coupled with alleviated tensions concerning the Euro zone have pushed equity markets towards significant growth and strength. Some corners of the market have been particular bright spots for 2012 with their tremendous performance and gains. This article, by Stoyan Bojinov, highlights 4 sector-specific ETFs that have gained more than 20% YTD.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.