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The first half of 2011 is officially in the books, and many investors find their portfolios in approximately the same place as they were to start the year (though a furious rally in the final week of the quarter gave a nice boost at an opportune moment). Most major equity indexes are up slightly on the year, while fixed income benchmarks have similarly hovered around breakeven. Beyond these broad generalizations, there are some significant performance discrepancies among exchange-traded products that may seem to offer up similar risk/return profiles.

The following tables highlight the top performers from every ETFdb Category during the first six months of the year, shedding some light on the asset classes that have struggled and thrived so far in 2011–and reinforcing that the seemingly minor distinctions between ETPs can lead to big differences in performance [for monthly updates on the best performers, sign up for the free ETFdb newsletter]: [click to continue…]

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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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By now, most investors are well aware of certain nuances of futures-based investment strategies that are capable of having a significant impact on the returns of exchange-traded commodity products. A select few of the 70+ commodity ETPs on the market offer exposure to natural resources by physically buying and holding the commodity; these “physically-backed” commodity […]

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As optimism over a quick return to growth in the U.S. has waned, many investors have begun to turn their attention to rising superpowers in the developing world. This trend, combined with ongoing speculation over further easing measures, have sent the U.S. dollar tumbling in recent sessions, as several rival currencies have touched new record […]

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Many industrial metals saw prices surge in 2009 as the global economy recovered, the dollar weakened, and inflation concerns were . However, beginning in early 2010, the markets experienced a reversal, as the core CPI fell for the first time in more than 25 years and the dollar gained on global sovereign debt concerns. These […]

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Best Performing ETFs Of 2009

by on December 21, 2009 | Updated April 30, 2010

Following a year that saw some of the worst performances in recent memory, many asset classes have bounced back in  2009. But some have performed better than others, and as the year draws to a close we take a look at some of the best-performing ETFs. The year’s top gainers include a few of the […]

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ETF Plays For A Falling U.S. Dollar

by on November 2, 2009 | Updated June 24, 2010

As U.S. equity markets have soared in recent months, the dollar has steadily declined against most of its major rivals, recently falling below the key $1.50 level against the euro for the first time since August of last year. This extended fall has investors wondering if the dollar’s decline reflects temporary volatility, or a long-term […]

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With a roller coaster six months behind us that saw no shortage of interesting twists and turns and unsuspected headlines, we’ve finally reached the midway point of 2009. Ahead of us is the highly anticipated “second half of 2009,” which for months we’ve heard will hold returns to growth, a recovering economy, and enough green […]

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that many of the investment vehicles in the ETF industry are technically referred to as exchange-traded notes, or ETNs. While ETNs are similar to ETFs in many ways, there are also some key differences that should be considered before investing.

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