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As the ETF industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, innovation has been a recurring theme in the space. Although some of the new exchange-traded products now hitting the market offer access to “plain vanilla” asset classes and indexes, the ETF expansion has been fueled primarily by first-to-market products that open up new asset classes and investment strategies. From leveraged platinum and palladium ETNs to Australian Bonds to soybeans, 2011 has been a year of firsts in the ETF industry [see Six Noteworthy ETF Innovations].

As a result of this trend, ETFs have become increasingly specialized, granular tools. The vast majority of exchange-traded products now available to U.S. investors are likely of little or no use to those with a buy-and-hold strategy; much of the ETP universe is simply too targeted for those with a long-term time horizon. But these products are powerful tactical tools to more active advisors and individuals looking to implement shorter-term tilts towards asset classes believed to be poised for short-term outperformance, and the wave of new launches in recent years has added a number of precise tools to the toolbox [see 25 Things Every Financial Advisor Should Know About ETFs] . [click to continue…]

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UBS rolled out two new ETNs on Thursday, debuting products that offer exposure to Internet-related companies that have recently completed an initial public offering (IPO). The new ETRACS Internet IPO ETN (EIPO) is linked to the UBS Internet IPO Index, a benchmark that consists of companies that maintain operations focused on the Internet that have gone public over the last three years. The underlying portfolio includes many of the companies that have recently completed high profile IPOs, such as Pandora Media, OpenTable, and LinkedIn. In order to be included in the underlying index, companies must fall into one of three GICS Industry designations: Internet Software & Services, Internet & Catalog Retail, or Media. UBS also launched a monthly leveraged product linked to the same index, the Monthly 2xLeveraged Internet IPO (EIPL). [click to continue…]

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In the early days of the ETF industry most of the products were broad-based equity funds that offered exposure to domestic and international stock markets. But as ETFs have gained market share and become more popular with both buy-and-holders and more active traders, products have become increasingly specialized. Since the debut of the sector SPDRs […]

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Initial sales reports from Black Friday gave little hope for a blockbuster holiday season for retailers: although more people visited retail stores over the holiday weekend, almost 2 out of every 3 Americans, they spent almost 8% less on average. This led to sales that were basically flat from last year, widely proclaimed to be […]

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Microsoft reported solid earnings earlier today,  sending shares more than 7% higher in early trading.  Although sales were down more than 14% compared to last year and net profits fell more than 18%, investors were encouraged by strong early results for Windows 7 (which created $1.5 billion in deferred revenue from customers who bought a […]

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The sale of Skype that was rumored last week appears to be close to reality, as San Jose-based company eBay is poised to sell the company to a group of investors headed by private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. Under the terms of the deal, eBay will receive about $1.9 billion in cash and a […]

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