The dramatic drop in gold prices and less than inspiring earnings reports cast a shadow across the market this week, but the ETF space saw a huge expansion in funds. iShares alone has rolled out nine new ETFs–its first funds for 2013–with FlexShares and Credit Suisse each adding their own funds to the universe as well earlier in the week [see 7 Articles ETF Investors Must Read: 4/18].
FlexShares was the first on the scene this week, launching three dividend ETFs with slightly different strategies:
- International Quality Dividend Index Fund (IQDF): This index is designed to provide exposure to a high quality, income-oriented portfolio of international equity securities from outside of the U.S. Emphasizing long-term growth of both the company and dividends, this fund is very similar to its domestic counterpart, (QDF, A)[see How To Invest Overseas Without Currency Risk].
- International Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund (IQDE): Using IQDF as a baseline, this defensive fund looks for a lower beta, generally between .5 to one times that of IQDF, as a less volatile play on the same strategy. Its domestic template, (QDEF, A) has enjoyed a very strong year to date, returning 13% so far.
- International Quality Dividend Dynamic Index Fund (IQDY): Using the opposite principle of IQDE, this dynamic fund looks to find the more volatile and higher reward funds along the baseline index, much like (QDYN, B) [see 101 High Yield ETFs For Every Dividend Investor].
Credit Suisse has constructed a unique play for the silver investor who wants a bit more security:
- Silver Shares Covered Call ETN (SLVO): As another silver investing option to the popular iShares (SLV, C+), this fund looks to track the return of a covered call strategy on shares on the SLV ETF, offering an indirect form of investing in the spot price of silver bullion [see also Gold Hitting Two-Year Lows: Are The Glory Days Done].
Over the course of two days, iShares came out with a number of different strategies at the end of this week, focusing primarily on investment-grade corporate bonds and factor funds:
- MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (MTUM): Meant to follow an index of higher momentum companies, this fund hopes to capitalize on 100 to 150 firms featuring strong growth patterns [also check out How Broke Is Your State].
- MSCI USA Size Factor (SIZE): Built to consider the market capitalization of individual stocks, this equal weighted fund seeks out smaller and lower risk companies for the fund.
- MSCI USA Value Factor (VLUE): Seeking out funds that have strong fundamentals and accounting data but are not priced accordingly, this fund looks to capitalize on the growth of undervalued funds.
- Enhanced US Large Cap ETF (IELG): By providing investors a competitive long-term, risk adjusted return, this active ETF offers a more contained way to play the broad U.S. Large Cap Stocks [check out 7 Answers To The Critical Questions On Investor's Minds].
- Enhanced US Small Cap ETF (IESM): Similar to IELG, this active fund will also offer a select version of the U.S. small market cap sector, based on a combination of quality, value and size factors.
- Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETFs (IBCB, IBCC, IBCD, IBCE): With each fund focusing on a separate target year (2016, 2018, 2020, and 2023 respectively), these funds will invest in a basket of firms–excluding financials–that are expected to perform well in each of the time periods.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.