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As the size of the ETF lineup has ballooned to nearly 1,300 products, there has been some criticism over the increased granularity and sophistication that is characteristic of many of the latest additions.  Many of the ETPs that have hit the market over the last few years probably have very little appeal to the vast majority of investors–especially those with a long-term focus. The iPath S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX), which has lost about 80% of its value over the last year, is one product that most investors shouldn’t go anywhere near. The structure of the futures markets–including steep contango at the short end of the curve–means that this ETN is almost guaranteed to lose money over the long run. [click to continue…]

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