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The month of May was a generally disappointing stretch for investors, as both international and domestic equity markets struggled to overcome obstacles new and old. Commodities, which had been a nice source of absolute returns for much of the last year, fell on hard times as well; precious metals went into a brief freefall, and most other natural resources saw price declines as well.

May demonstrated the importance of a meaningful allocation to fixed income within any long-term portfolio, as most bond ETFs turned in nice gains during the month. The following tables highlight the best performers from each ETFdb Category during the month of May [ETFdb Pro members can download spreadsheets showing performance and expense data for the entire ETF universe]. [click to continue…]

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The impressive rise of the ETF industry in recent years is often held out as evidence of an ongoing shift in investor preferences away from costly active management and towards low cost indexing. Investors frustrated with the inability of pricey mutual fund managers to consistently beat their benchmark have abandoned stock picking in favor of simply owning the entire benchmark. [click to continue…]

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