Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston
Contributor since: 2009
Company: ETF Database
Gary: Generally love your stuff, so I'm a little disappointed at how you interpreted the story. It's impossible to universally recommend an ETF as superior to another without understanding the particular tolerance and willingness to take on risk of a particular investor (as you very well know). It's not impossible to point out differences in ETFs or highlight unique exposure or risk profiles. A lot of investors found the column incredibly helpful - the look under the hood of popular ETF products was a revelation to some. Your point that the funds are equally transparent is a good one - but a lot of people haven't taken full advantage of the transparency to thoroughly evaluate the underlying holdings. For some, EEG may be best. For others VWO. Those using options strategies will probably be best served by EEM.
We cover ETFs from all issuers, regardless of whether they advertise on our site or any other, and we stick to facts when doing so. ETF Database isn't pay-to-play, and I'm certainly not for sale.
@ ComplianceCop: You make a good point, but the Schwab ads running on ETF Database are coming through an ad network - meaning that we have so direct relationship with Schwab and are not receiving revenue from them directly.
I incorrectly attributed MDY to PowerShares. MDY is a State Street fund (SPDR MidCap Trust), meaning that PowerShares total assets are correctly stated at $36.5 billion.
You're absolutely right - these leveraged ETFs are only for speculating only, not even overnight buy-and-holding. Some evidence:
BGU has 7.4 million shares outstanding but an average daily volume of almost 16 million, indicating its entire holdings turn over more than 2x per day!
@ Alan Young
Alan - you make a good point but I think you misinterpreted this article as a ringing endorsement for buying real estate ETFs. As I pointed out, there's still a lot of bad news out there, particularly with respect to the commercial sector. I'm trying to lay out some of the arguments on both sides of the aisle.
I also respectfully disagree that consumer confidence is irrelevant. Given that retail REITs comprise a large portion of real estate ETFs, increased spending (which results from increased confidence) is definitely meaningful.
@ Ed Hynes
You make an excellent point. Unfortunately, this data is a little harder to track down. Given the short time period between the two dates, the prices of these stocks changed very little. JPM actually rose since the inception of its fund, but its weighting in the fund declined significantly, which is perhaps a better argument for the statement I made.