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The expansion of the ETF universe continues to foster innovation as the growing product lineup offers investors numerous instruments at their fingertips when it comes to addressing their investment goals. In fact, with over 1,400+ ETPs to choose from, investors likely have multiple ways of accessing a particular asset class. As with any financial instrument, with innovation also comes complexity; as such, investors should remember to take a good hard look under the hood before jumping into a position because seemingly similar products often times bear noteworthy differences [see also 3 ETF Trading Tips You Are Missing].

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The last five years have seen a tremendous expansion of the ETF industry, as assets have skyrocketed and the number of products available to U.S.-based investors has multiplied. That same period of time has also been a period of tremendous volatility in global financial markets; the last five years have witnessed an unprecedented financial crisis, one of the most severe recessions in history, and a remarkable recovery in both 2009 and 2010.

A look back at the performance of exchange-traded funds over the last five years (ending October 31) highlights the tremendous growth of the ETF industry as well as the challenging realities of recent history. Though there are now more than 1,350 ETPs, only 330 or so were launched before November 2006. Of those that are still in existence, about half have delivered negative returns over that period–a remarkable testament to the impact that the volatility of recent years has had on portfolios. [click to continue…]

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Markets Regain Footing

by on October 8, 2011 | Updated May 14, 2013

Investor worries eased up a bit this past week as concerns over Europe were quelled by the ECB following its most recent decision to keep interest rates unchanged. Wall Street posted an impressive three-day winning streak starting with an impressive, high-volume rally in the final hours of trading on Tuesday. However, stocks couldn’t hold onto […]

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Bulls Back For Good?

by on October 5, 2011

Wall Street started the week on a fairly weak note as investor worries regarding the health of the Euro zone  resurfaced over the weekend. Equity indexes plunged further on Tuesday, although the bulls came charging to the rescue in the last hour of trading, sparking a strong, heavy-volume rally to end the trading session. Volatility […]

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Greece Flirts With Default

by on October 3, 2011

Wall Street posted yet another up-down week of performance as domestic equity indexes fluctuated and ultimately fell victim to serious profit taking as the final trading session drew to a close. Worse-than-expected U.S. consumer confidence coupled with a decline in personal income were concerning data releases that only added to the piling uncertainty weighting down […]

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Fidelity To Offer Commission-Free Trading On 25 iShares ETFs

by on February 2, 2010 | Updated April 26, 2013

Fidelity Investments announced today that it will offer its retail customers commission-free online trades for a suite of 25 iShares ETFs. The funds included in the commission-free platform include ETFs in all nine domestic equity style/size categories, as well as international equity and fixed income options. “Fidelity has partnered with the leading ETF provider in […]

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As the ETF industry has exploded on to the scene in recent years, sponsors have aggressively launched funds in an attempt to gain market share. While many of these new ETFs have attracted sufficient investor funds to justify continued operation, some have failed to garner a level of investment necessary to support an active, liquid market […]

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