See what's cooking in our "Basis Pointing" blog.
Jeffrey Ptak, CFA, is head of global manager research for Morningstar.
If you're an ETF enthusiast, or simply interested in learning more about the latest happenings in the ETF world, we think you'll find "Basis Pointing" valuable. To that end, for those of you who are trying to catch up on recent goings-on in the blog, here's an index of some of the topics we've covered recently, including a short list of our most popular posts.
Most Popular Posts
ETFs in the Offing
- A Fundamental Index We'd Love to See: Wouldn't it be nice to invest in an ETF that tracks an index which weights stocks on the dollar amount of revenue earned in various regions, rather than domicile? Classifying 3M as a "domestic" stock is absurd--the firm makes a huge portion of its sales abroad. A fundamental index that considered where a firm did business, instead of where it happened to be headquartered, might remedy that problem.
- SEC Grants Its Blessing to Actively Managed ETFs�Well, Sort Of: Our off-the-cuff assessment of the recent crop of actively managed ETFs. Would we buy them? Read this post and find out.
- Market Vectors Launches Another Solar ETF: Market Vectors and Claymore recently launched ETFs that will invest in solar energy-related firms. In this post we compare the two and offer a bigger-picture assessment of the solar power industry.
- The "Little ETF That Beats the Market"? Joel Greenblatt, the celebrated author of best-selling investing tome "The Little Book That Beats the Market," also maintains a companion Web site, Magic Formula Investing. That site allows investors to screen firms using the "magic formula" that is the focal point of the "Little Book." The formula is transparent and, well, formulaic. And, oh yeah, very successful. So, we wonder, why hasn't the "magic formula" been turned into an index and licensed to an ETF provider?
- Claymore Registers ETF That Will Track Frontier Index; Kazakhstan Bulls, Rejoice!: Kidding aside, this would be the first U.S.-listed ETF to invest in a basket of stocks based in so-called "frontier" countries--that is, those developing nations that either don't make it into emerging-markets benchmarks like MSCI Emerging Markets, or are trace holdings.
- Flurry of New ETF Filings (incl. Timber, Infrastructure, Nuclear Funds): In this posting, we provide capsule summaries describing the following ETFs that recently entered the registration queue--iShares FTSE China (HK Listed), iShares S&P Emerging Markets Infrastructure, iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex-Japan, iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Eastern Europe, iShares S&P Global Clean Energy, iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy, iShares S&P Global Timber & Forestry, Vanguard Global Stock Index ETF, and PowerShares NASDAQ Internet.
New ETF Launches
- Where Are the New ETFs? A riff on the more-leisurely pace of ETF launches thus far in 2008 and thoughts on whether we're about to see a lull. (The short answer: Nope.)
Actively Managed ETFs
Fundamental Indexing/ETF Ideas
- Market Vectors Launches Another Solar ETF
- Livestock, Nuclear Energy, Global Warming ETFs among Slew of New Launches: A quick synopsis of a number of new ETFs that launched recently, including PowerShares NASDAQ NextQ PNXQ, PowerShares FTSE NASDAQ Small Cap PQSC, PowerShares Global Nuclear Energy PKN, Elements MLCX Livestock ETN LSO, Elements MLCX Precious Metals ETN PMY, Elements MLCX Gold ETN GOE, Elements Credit Suisse Global Warming ETN GWO, iShares MSCI Israel Capped Investable Market EIS, iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market TUR, iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market THD, iShares MSCI All Country World ACWI, iShares MSCI All Country ex-U.S. ACWX, iPath Optimized Currency Carry ETN ICI, Ultra Telecommunications ProShares LTL, and UltraShort Telecommunications ProShares TLL.
- New SPDR International Inflation-Protected Bond Fund Poised to Launch: This promising ETF invests in the inflation-indexed bonds of foreign governments the world over.
- On Arnott, Form, Function, and Harry Potter: Magic, muggles, Hermione Grainger, and the argument over whether market-cap weighting is pass�. Who said that the fundamental indexing debate couldn't be fun?
- The "Little ETF That Beats the Market"?
- "Risk" Funds: The Next Evolution in ETFs? A thought piece on a potential future direction for ETFs--providing economic exposures to particular risks (inflation, credit, health care, etc.), rather than types of securities.
- A Few Fundamental Indexes That Make Us Shake Our Head: The RevenueShares follow indexes that weight stocks by sales rather than market cap. That's ok, we guess. But the funds are far too pricey for our liking.
- A Fundamental Index We'd Love to See
Miscellaneous/Mutual Fund Industry
- Dissecting ETF Industry Growth: The Strong Get Stronger: We saw 290 ETFs launch in 2007 alone. The industry has grown like a weed in recent years, with assets piling up at a furious pace. So, has the industry become less concentrated, with the new kids on the block winning a share of the market? In a word, no. This posting offers the state of the state on industry growth and the continued dominance of the big players.
- Another ETF Dies on the Vine: A brief summary of Haverford Quality 250 ETF's short, unremarkable life in the registration queue.
- XTF to Fold Entire Fund-of-ETF Lineup: XTF offered a series of lifecycle funds that invested in various ETFs. But it never managed to gather assets, underscoring the difficulty of trying to break into the retirement market, which is still dominated by traditional mutual fund providers.
- 20 Forthcoming IndexIQ ETFs Die in the Registration Queue: Upstart provider IndexIQ pulled virtually its entire lineup in one fell swoop. What does it mean? Does it bode ill for the other fledgling ETF firms? We offer our perspective in this post.
- 11 ETFs Head for the Big Arbitrage Mechanism in the Sky: Claymore liquidated nearly a dozen of its poorest-selling ETFs. Our take on the significance of the liquidations and whether there are more to come.
- Interesting Mutual Funds in the Offing: We profile a trio of forthcoming open-end mutual funds--Champlain Mid Cap, PIMCO Fixed Income Unconstrained, and PIMCO Global Advantage--that have us licking our chops.
- The Case for Performance-Based Fees: We make our case for why performance-based fees could be an antidote to the various ills that mutual fund investors suffer, underperformance being chief among them. We also take a shot at refuting the notion that the status quo is the only viable business model for asset managers.
- Filing Hints at Future Manager Change: An odd filing hints at the identity of its manager, but doesn't spill the beans. We try to fill in the blanks in this post.
- Further Proof That ETFs Haven't Cornered the Market on Odd Ideas: A mutual fund that pays something more than homage to Joel Greenblatt's aforementioned investing "magic formula." And a mutual fund that's allowing a trust--a beneficiary of which owns a stake in the fund's manager--to bet against 35 of the 70 portfolio stocks that the fund owns. That is, an owner of the manager can bet against that manager. A stirring endorsement of the strategy if ever there was one.
- New Fund's Managed Backed by Central Figure in Junk-Bond, Political Scandals: A new fund's manager has a colorful backer.