TAG | ETFs shutting down
In an article from Forbes.com, May 27, 2011, Zack O’Malley Greenburg writes that a little over a year ago, fund provider Direxion launched an ETF (Exhange Traded Fund) called the Daily Semiconductor Bull 3x Shares. Its aim was to triple the performance of the PHLX Semiconductor Sector Index. Not as simple a task as it seems, apparently: Over the next seven months the index rose 5%, while the Direxion fund returned -6.25%.
Maybe investors should have heeded Direxion’s own disclaimer: “There is no guarantee the fund will meet its stated investment objective.”
This is the way of things in the world of ETFs, writes Greenburg, where offerings have exploded in recent years. Nearly 900 ETFs have been launched over the past five years, leading to a preponderance of funds that straddle the line from obscure to downright bizarre. Among them are leveraged ETFs like the aforementioned semiconductor fund that seek to double or triple the performance of sectors–and don’t always succeed. Examples range from the ProShares Ultra KBW Regional Banking ETF, to the Direxion Daily Agribusiness Bear 3x Shares ETF, which trades under ticker symbol COWS. There is also a smattering of international offerings, which comprised half of all new S&P-based index funds launched last year. Market Vectors parent Van Eck recently announced plans to launch a Mongolia ETF.
Forbes.com writes that there are a few ETFs so outrageous that they’ve already been shut down–for example, the HealthShares Dermatology and Wound Care ETF, shuttered in 2008 due to lack of demand. Others, like the PowerShares Dynamic Brand Name Products Portfolio and the PowerShares Autonomic Allocation Research Affiliates Portfolio, never even made it past the planning stages.
We are reminded that many obscure ETFs like Direxion’s leveraged semiconductor fund can be hazardous to investors who aren’t careful. These leveraged funds are designed for day-traders and backed by derivatives. Though providers warn that these funds are not meant to be held as long-term assets, many investors miss the fine print.
The Forbes.com article says that the SEC launched a review of all funds last March, deferring applications for “actively managed and leveraged ETFs that particularly rely on swaps and other derivative instruments to achieve their investment objectives” in the meantime. There has been a lot of concern generally about derivatives in the last few years, and specifically in our division about the use of derivatives by investment companies, including ETFs,” says Elizabeth Osterman, head of the exemptive applications office of SEC’s Division of Investment Management. “Our decision to defer the review of exemptive applications for derivatives-based ETFs reflects concerns about whether granting exemptive relief for those funds would be consistent with required regulatory standards in light of those concerns.”
Greenburg goes on to say that the SEC hasn’t yet resumed allowing providers to launch new leveraged ETFs, but it hasn’t banned existing products or disallowed existing issuers from creating new ones. The three leading providers of such funds–Direxion, Rydex and ProShares–now have something of a lock on leveraged ETFs. And no matter how outlandish their products may sound, they continue to be popular.
If you have invested in an ETFs and lost your investment, you may have valuable legal rights to be compensated for your losses. Call a Securities Arbitration Lawyer at Soreide Law Group for a free consultation on how to potentially recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit www.stockmarketlawsuit.com.
Soreide Law Group, PLLC., representing investors nationwide before FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
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Today, in an article in InvestmentNews.com, we learn that the emerging-markets mutual funds managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Franklin Resources Inc., along with leveraged raw material ETFs, were among the U.S.-registered funds affected the most in this week’s commodities selloff.
It was noted that the mutual funds and exchange-traded funds dedicated to commodities, including index-based products, suffered steeper declines. The ProShares Ultra Silver ETF, designed to return twice the daily performance of silver, plummeted 51 percent from Monday to Thursday, although it was up 2.85% as of midday on Friday. Non-leveraged silver ETFs fell about 30 percent.
In the $831 million Goldman Sachs BRIC Fund and the $825 million Templeton BRIC Fund, which focus on Brazil, China, India and Russia, both fell 5.7 percent in the week ended yesterday. The funds, from New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and San Mateo, California’s Franklin Resources Inc., lost the most among diversified equity funds with more than $500 million in assets and at least 20 percent in energy or basic materials stocks, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The InvestmentNews.com article says that Bill Miller, manager of the $3.94 billion Legg Mason Capital Management Value Trust, said in an April 19 letter to investors that he saw little value in commodities. He pointed to research from Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. showing that commodity returns relative to stock returns were at a 200-year high on a rolling 10-year basis.
“One thing is clear from the analysis of long-term commodity returns: they are cyclical,” Miller wrote.
Commodities plunged yesterday as investors accelerated sales following year-to-date gains through April of more than 23 percent for silver, oil, gasoline and coffee. The Standard & Poor’s GSCI index of 24 commodities sank 6.5 percent at 4:32 p.m. New York time in the biggest one-day drop since January 2009, bringing its loss this week to 9.9 percent.
“It’s panic,” said Michael Shaoul, chairman of Marketfield Asset Management, which oversees $1 billion in New York. “There’s nothing to do with weak U.S. economic data. It’s not a global financial crisis. It’s a classic liquidation move in a crowded trade.”
Oil tumbled 8.6 percent yesterday, the most in two years, to $99.80 a barrel. Silver dropped 8 percent, extending the worst four-day slump since 1983 to 25 percent. The Dow Jones BRIC 50 Index declined 5.1 percent from April 28 through yesterday.
These leaders of the four countries plus South Africa, a group known as the BRICS, said last month that excessively volatile commodity prices pose “new risks for the ongoing recovery of the world economy.”
The $726 million DWS Latin America Equity Fund, managed by the funds unit of Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank AG, fell 5.4 percent in the past week. Boston-based Fidelity Investments’ $5.46 billion Canada Fund lost 5.3 percent, and the $1.4 billion FPA Capital Fund, run by Los Angeles-based First Pacific Advisors LLC, dropped 4.6 percent.
Open interest in silver futures has tumbled about 15 percent since the Comex exchange in New York began raising margin requirements on April 25. Futures on Brent crude, crude oil, heating oil, gasoline and natural gas plunged more than 6.9 percent yesterday.
Also, crude oil dropped below $100 a barrel for the first time since March 17. Copper futures slumped 3.3 percent, falling below $4 a pound for the first time in five months. Among agricultural commodities, cocoa, cotton, corn and weak retreated more than 2.3 percent in futures trading.
If you have invested in ETFs or mutual funds and lost money, you may have valuable legal rights to be compensated for your losses. Call a Securities arbitration lawyer for a free consultation on how to recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit www.stockmarketlawsuit.com. Soreide Law Group, PLLC., representing investors nationwide before FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
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In an article in InvestmentNews.com, Jessica Toonkal writes that with fund firms launching a seemingly endless parade of exchange-traded funds, a dark side to this glut of offerings is emerging. Portfolio liquidations, once rare, are becoming increasingly commonplace. This recent trend is scaring advisers. Indeed, some said they are more than a little worried about getting stuck in an ETF that ends up being shut down.
“With the proliferation of ETFs, this is becoming a greater concern,” said Sailesh S. Radha, a vice president at CCM Investment Advisers LLC, a registered investment advisory firm that manages $2.5 billion in assets. “Telling an investor than an ETF is shutting down is not news you want to give them.” said.
So how can an adviser spot trouble before it strikes? Here are a few warning signs to look for:
Has your ETF been around too long?
It is important to pay attention to how long an ETF has been around. You need to pay attention to how long an ETF has been on the market. “No one launches ETFs, then closes them a couple months later, except for Northern Trust [Corp.],” Mr. Hougan said, taking a jab at the Chicago-based firm, which closed 17 ETFs last February only 11 months after launching them.
We are reminded that an ETF that has has less than $10 million in assets – and has been around for a couple of years or so – should raise a red flag for advisers. It’s clearly not gaining traction with advisers.
Advisers also should pay attention to how an ETF is trading and if the fund is best-in-class, said Matt Hougan, president of ETF analytics at IndexUniverse. An ETF’s assets may be puny, but if it’s one of the few funds in an asset class that is poised to take off, it may stick around longer, he explained.
How are the other ETFs doing in the firm?
The article goes on to remind us that advisers also should take note of the investment adviser for the funds. If the firm manages a large number of profitable funds, it could buy additional time for laggards, said one executive at an ETF company, who asked not to be identified. “As long as you have a few ETFs that are the money makers, you can afford to have a few that take longer to gain assets,” the exec said.
If you have invested in ETFs and lost money, you may have valuable legal rights to be compensated for your losses. Call a Securities arbitration lawyer for a free consultation on how to recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit www.stockmarketlawsuit.com. Soreide Law Group, PLLC., representing investors nationwide before FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
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