April was somewhat of a calming month for markets, as geopolitical concerns took a back seat to earnings reports and a relatively uneventful Federal Reserve meeting. This month saw two of the world’s most popular commodities, oil and gold, soar to levels not seen since before the market crashed in 2008. In fact, gold is at a historic high, settling at well over $1,500 per ounce as April came to a close. Along with busy markets, the ETF world saw a surge in activity the past four weeks in what is arguably the busiest month ever for the exchange traded industry. April saw the introduction of 43 new funds with plenty of filings to go with it, giving investors plenty of new options to sort through in the coming weeks.
ETFs that began trading in April include:
- Van Eck launched the Market Vectors Germany Small-Cap ETF (GERJ), making it the first ETF to fully dedicate its assets to the small-cap firms of this powerhouse economy. Next, Van Eck rolled out another unique fund with the Market Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ), another ETF that is the first of its kind. As the month came to a close, the issuer also released the Investment Grade Floating Rate ETF (FLTR) to further diversify the fixed income space.
- ProShares also had a busy month, starting things off by releasing the Short 7-10 Year Treasury ETF (TBX) and the UltraShort 3-7 Year Treasury ETF (TBZ). The issuer then further continued its plunge into the fixed income space by debuting two leveraged bond products: ProShares Ultra Investment Grade (IGU) and ProShares Ultra High Yield (UJB).
- State Street also threw its hat into the new ETF ring when the SPDR Barclays Capital Issuer Scored Corporate Bond ETF (CBND) launched. This ETF will track an index of U.S. dollar denominated corporate issues that are rated investment grade (Baa3/BBB- or higher) by at least two of the big three ratings agencies. Later in the month, the SPDR Nuveen S&P High Yield Municipal Bond ETF (HYMB) made its debut. HYMB aims to generate high yield for investors by replicating a benchmark that consists of bonds issued by U.S. states and territories, local governments or agencies, that are rated below investment grade.
- Global X also added an interesting ETF this month, allowing investors to gain exchange traded exposure to a whole new market segment: trash. The Waste Management ETF (WSTE) will follow an index that measures waste management firms from all around the world. The investment thesis behind this fund is pretty simple; as the world’s population continues to rapidly expand, so too will our trash piles, creating an increasing demand for the services these companies offer.
- First Trust had a busy month, releasing a total of nine new international ETFs and four U.S. equity products. The list of new funds is as follows: Asia Pacific Ex-Japan AlphaDEX Fund (FPA), Europe AlphaDEX Fund (FEP), Latin America AlphaDEX Fund (FLN), Brazil AlphaDEX Fund (FBZ), China AlphaDEX Fund (FCA), Japan AlphaDEX Fund (FJP), South Korea AlphaDEX Fund (FKO), Developed Markets Ex-US AlphaDEX Fund (FDT), Emerging Markets AlphaDEX Fund (FEM), Mid Cap Growth AlphaDEX Fund (FNY), Mid Cap Value AlphaDEX Fund (FNK), Small Cap Growth AlphaDEX Fund (FYC), and the Small Cap Value AlphaDEX Fund (FYT).
- While First Trust and other firms rolled out a slew of new products, Barclays iPath had the final say by launching 19 new, commodity-based ETFs: Pure Beta S&P GSCI-Weighted ETN (SBV), Pure Beta Broad Commodity ETN (BCM), Pure Beta Crude Oil ETN (OLEM), Pure Beta Agriculture ETN (DIRT), Pure Beta Grains ETN (WEET), Pure Beta Copper ETN (CUPM), Pure Beta Nickel ETN (NINI), Pure Beta Livestock ETN (LSTK), Pure Beta Energy ETN (ONG), Pure Beta Industrial Metals ETN (HEVY), Pure Beta Sugar ETN (SGAR), Pure Beta Softs ETN (GRWN), Pure Beta Precious Metals ETN (BLNG), Pure Beta Lead ETN (LEDD), Pure Beta Cotton ETN (CTNN), Pure Beta Coffee ETN (CAFE), Pure Beta Cocoa ETN (CHOC), Pure Beta Aluminum ETN (FOIL), and the Seasonal Natural Gas ETN (DCNG).
April saw a fair amount of filings, keeping the ETF pipeline full. Below we outline funds proposed in the past four weeks:
- Along with launching several new funds this month, Van Eck announced plans to bring to market the first ever ETF dedicated entirely to the Japanese bond market. The proposed fund will heavily focus on corporate debt, as Japanese government bonds will not make up more than 25% of the product.
- State Street announced plans to enter the active ETF space with six proposed funds: SSgA Real Assets ETF, SSgA Income Opportunities ETF, SSgA Conservative Allocation ETF, SSgA Moderate Allocation ETF, SSgA Aggressive Allocation ETF, and the SSgA Blackstone/GSO Senior Loan ETF.
- iShares added two more products to its pipeline, unveiling plans for fundss that will offer low volatility exposure to equities.
- AdvisorShares unveiled plans for a new actively managed fund, the Rockledge SectorSAM ETF (SSAM). The product will seek to generate stable and consistent annual returns under all market conditions.
- Aside from launching a Waste Management ETF, Global X also proposed two MLP ETFs this month. The two tentative funds will be the Global X MLP Infrastructure ETF and the Global X MLP Natural Gas ETF.
- PIMCO shook up the exchange traded world when it announced plans to launch an ETF version of its Total Return Fund, the largest bond fund in the world.
- Last but not least, Teucrium closed out the month by detailing plans for a unique commodity fund. The proposed Teucrium Agriculture Fund (TAGS) will be made up of four different Teucrium ETFs to create a never before seen commodity product.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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