ALPS Strives for Equality (EQLT); PowerShares Goes Abroad with Buybacks (IPKW)

by on February 27, 2014 | ETFs Mentioned:

Sideways price action has been a dominant theme all week on Wall Street as investors have been hesitant to take big bets in either direction ahead of next week’s highly-anticipated unemployment report. Investors’ eyes remain fixated on what the Fed might do next, which is why March’s employment report due for release on 3/7 should offer valuable insights as to what the upcoming FOMC meeting on 3/19 could reveal. Amid the ongoing tug-of-war between the bulls and bears, four ETF issuers expanded their product lineups this week in a frenzy of new product launches [see also Major Asset Class Returns Since the Fed's Taper Announcement]. The new releases include:

ALPS Workplace Equality Portfolio ETF (EQLT, C+)

ALPS rolled out a first-to-market fund this Tuesday that fits into the theme of Socially Responsible Investing. The new ETF, EQLT, offers exposure to both domestic as well as foreign companies that support equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees. The fund’s underlying benchmark, the Workplace Equality Index, was created originally in 2001 by Denver Investments at the request of individuals and foundations who wished to allocate investments to companies who support the LGBT community.

The underlying portfolio is equal-weighted and consists of just over 160 securities; from a sector allocation perspective, consumer discretionary and financials account for about 22% each, while the third largest allocation is afforded to information technology at nearly 16% [see our Socially Responsible ETFdb Portfolio].

PowerShares International BuyBack Achievers Portfolio (IPKW, C+)

PowerShares is adding a foreign version of its BuyBack Achievers Portfolio (PKW, B+) today, which has amassed more than $2.7 billion in total assets under management since launching at the end of 2006. The new ETF, IPKW, expands the issuers’ suite of “Smart Beta” products as it looks to employ a fundamental methodology when it comes to the security selection process. The underlying portfolio will consist of companies that have effected a net reduction of 5% or more of their outstanding shares in the past 12 months [see also PKW: Investing In Share Buybacks Since Before Apple Made it Cool].

State Street SPDR Barclays 0-5 Year TIPS ETF (SIPE, n/a)

State Street expanded its fixed-income product lineup today with the launch of a “plain-vanilla” TIPS fund. The new ETF, SIPE, provides a way for investors to protect their portfolios against rising prices by offering exposure to short-term, U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities; specifically, the portfolio consists of TIPS with maturities ranging from less than one to five years, serving as a shorter-term counterpart to the existing SPDR Barclays 1-10 Year TIPS ETF (TIPX, n/a).

iShares Adds Enhanced International Large-Cap ETF (IEIL, A-) and Enhanced International Small-Cap ETF (IEIS, n/a)

iShares rolled out a pair of actively-managed ETFs today, offering exposure to foreign equity markets based on market cap-size preferences. The large-cap version, IEIL, costs 0.35% in expense fees and is the foreign counterpart to the existing Enhanced U.S. Large-Cap ETF (IELG, A-), which has amassed nearly $35 million since launching in mid-April last year. The small-cap version, IEIS, is slightly more expensive at 0.49% and is the foreign counterpart to the existing Enhanced U.S. Small-Cap ETF (IESM, n/a), which has accumulated over $6 million since launching in mid-April last year [see Active ETFs That Beat The Market in 2013].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.