Tag Archives: SPDR

SPDR Jumps 32.3% in 2013

Last year was a banner year for U.S. stocks and the ETFs that tracked them.

All results are total returns, with dividends factored in

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U.S. Large-Caps’ Net Cash Inflows Top Bonds

Net cash inflows in U.S.-listed ETFs surged to $55.8 billion in the third quarter, far exceeding the average quarterly inflows of $33.8 billion seen over the last three years, according to the ETF research team at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. With $133.4 billion for the first three quarters of the year, ETF net cash inflows are “on pace for the biggest year on record,” says Morgan Stanley. This would beat the $174.6 billion that poured into U.S.-listed ETFs in 2008.

Investors made a big switch to risk as ETFs following U.S. large-cap indices received $11.0 billion, the largest net cash inflows for the quarter, compared with $8.1 billion for fixed income ETFs. This was a big change from the previous quarter when fixed income ETFs received about $19 billion. ETFs tracking high-yield corporate bonds topped the fixed-income segment with inflows of $4.4 billion, according to Morgan Stanley.

With 20 new ETFs launched in the third quarter, and another 11 in October, the number of ETFs stands at the extremely cool total of 1,234. Total assets in the U.S. ETF market, as of Oct. 25, were $1.3 trillion, a 21% increase since the beginning of the year.

The top three funds in terms of net cash inflows were the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), with net inflows of $7.4 billion, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), with $4.1 billion, and the Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), with $3.9 billion, according to Morgan Stanley. Currency ETFs experienced the largest net cash outflows for the quarter, at $71 million. For the first nine months of the year, currency ETFs have seen outflows of $2.0 million. Most of the outflows came from ETFs bullish on the U.S. dollar, while most of the inflows went into funds bullish on the euro vs. the dollar.

Blackrock continues to be the market leader with 280 U.S.-listed ETFs and $528.4 billion in assets. This accounts for a 41.7% share of the market, says Morgan Stanley, down from 48% at the end of 2008. State Street Global Advisors, with $235.8 billion in 116 ETFs holds 18.6% of the market, down from 27% at the end of 2008. Vanguard had $231.6 billion in 65 ETFs, giving it a market share of 18.3%, up from 8% at the end of 2008. Through the first three quarters of the year, Vanguard has had net cash inflows of $41.2 billion, the most of any provider, says Morgan.

New State Street Site Battles Lies About ETFs

State Street Global Advisors, the sponsor of the SPDR family of ETFs, increased it efforts to educate the public about exchange traded funds by launching a new Web site ETF Fact or Fiction.

Already a thought leader in producing ETF educational resources, the new site is expected to address common misconceptions about the nuances of the ETF product structure. It will feature articles and commentary on timely topics and research from SPDR executives that should make it easier for investors to evaluate ETFs.

Some of the papers include:

  • Exchange Traded Funds: A Brief Introduction
  • How ETFs are Created and Redeemed
  • Expense Ratio is Not the Only Factor That Determines Total Cost

One paper, Separating ETF Facts From Fiction, addresses a lot of the negative misconceptions floating being propogated by anti-ETF forces. The section on the Flash Crash, which many people blame on ETFs, explains how ETFs were the victims of the market malfunction, not the villains. In addition, the use of derivatives and synthetic ETFs is also addressed. While I understand how U.S. ETFs that use swaps are safe, I’m still confused about the negative issues surrounding European synthetic ETFs, in particular how they are safe compared to U.S. ETFs. This paper also addresses shorting ETFs and the benefits of securities lending.

Overall, it’s a good place to find information beyond the basic knowledge people have about ETFs and delve into the facts behind a lot of the lies being pushed by those with something to lose as ETFs gain prominence.

State Street Global Advisors is the asset management business of State Street Corp. (Ticker: STT)

Indexes Beaten by Small-Cap & Large-Cap Value

The indexing and ETF communities received a significant blow when, in an extremely rare occurrence, slightly more than half the actively managed mutual funds holding stocks outperformed their benchmark indexes.

According to the Standard & Poor’s Indices Versus Active Funds Scorecard (SPIVA), for the year ended June 30, the S&P Composite 1500 Index, tracked by the iShares S&P 1500 Index Fund (ISI) outperformed only 48.99% of all the domestic equity funds. Small-capitalization stocks were responsible for pushing active managers over the 50% mark, with the S&P SmallCap 600 Index, tracked by the iShares S&P SmallCap 600 Index Fund (IJR), beating only 47.5% of all small-cap funds.

This plays into one of the main reasons for using active fund managers: they can spot inefficient pricings in markets ignored by Wall Street analysts and institutions. This strategy typically works well with small stocks and equities in emerging markets.

But fans of active management shouldn’t crow too loudly, in all the other categories, the indexes won. The S&P 500 Index, tracked by the SPDR (SPY), beat 60.5% of the active managers, the S&P MidCap 400 – SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF (MDY) – beat 66.7% of the active managers.

Breaking it down further, between growth, core and value, small-cap value was the true hero, with 60.4% of the funds beating the S&P SmallCap 600 Value Index and the iShares S&P SmallCap 600 Value Index Fund (IJS). However, over three years, the index beat 52.3% of the funds.

Most shocking was large-cap value funds. Over the past year, 54.6% of the large-cap value funds posted better returns that the S&P 500 Value Index — iShares S&P 500 Value Index Fund (IVE). For the 3-year and 5-year periods, the percentage of large-cap value funds that topped the index were 55.9 and 64.7, respectively.

But investors in ETFs and an indexing strategy shouldn’t worry, the results don’t include the recent stock swoon. And in the 2008 crash, the average equity fund plunged 39.5%, according to Lipper, compared with the 37% drop in the S&P 500.

However, one of the big reasons for not buying actively managed funds is that few can consistently beat the indexes. So, a one-year record might just be a bit of luck. And the long-term results bear it out. Over three-years, small-cap funds still had the best record, but the indexes beat 63.1% of the funds. That only increased for the other categories, with 75% of all midcap funds beaten by its benchmark.

Meanwhile, growth funds took a kick to the teeth. Over the three-year period, the indexes beat 75% of the large-cap growth funds, 84.1% of the mid-cap growth funds and 69.6% of the small-cap growth funds. And for the five-year periods, all the growth sectors fared worse. These funds track the winning indexes: S&P 500 Growth Index Fund (IVW), S&P MidCap 400 Growth Index Fund (IJK) and S&P SmallCap 600 Growth Index Fund (IJT)

Europe’s Financial Crisis Sends U.S. Stocks Lower

Fears over the state of European banks after the European Central Bank lent dollars to a eurozone bank sent European markets plunging and have started a huge sell-off in the U.S. One bidder borrowed $500 million from the ECB and the news suggests at least one bank is having problems getting the cash it needs, according to Financial Times and CNBC.

At Thursday’s close, the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) tumbled 4.3% to $114.51.
The SPDR Financial Select Sector Fund (XLF) sunk 4.8% to $12.38.
The SPDR Technology Select Sector Fund (XLK) fell 4.9% to $23.08.
And finally, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) rose 1.9% to $177.72.

Last week regulators in Italy, Belgium, France and Spain banned short-selling of financial stocks in an effort to curb volatility and bring some order to markets. How is that working out for you? Meanwhile, it’s nearly impossible to get any numbers on the shorting of U.S. stocks or ETFs on short notice, I wouldn’t be surprised if investors were using U.S. ETFs to short the European financial stocks.

Meanwhile, here are 4 funds that measure global financial stocks.
iShares MSCI Europe Financials Sector Index Fund (EUFN), of which banks make up 52% of the portfolio, plummeted 8% to $16.68.
iShares S&P Global Financials Sector Index Fund (IXG) plunged 5.2% to $36.99.
SPDR EURO STOXX 50 (FEZ) dived 5.5% to $31.06.
iShares MSCI United Kingdom Index Fund (EWU) skidded 4.6% to $15.71.

Finally, the ProShare UltraShort MSCI EAFE Fund surged 9.7% to $28.75. With a ticker of (EFU), this is probably the most appropriate sentiment of the day.

5 ETFs for the Dividend Investor

If you’re looking to build a portfolio around companies that pay dividends, you’ll find a treasure trove of choices in exchange-traded funds. At least 35 ETFs follow a dividend-focused strategy, investing in income-paying stocks of large companies and small ones, in U.S. corporations as well as firms based overseas. And that doesn’t include the ETFs that invest in real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships, two groups that tend to offer high yields.

It’s no surprise that dividends have returned to their rightful place as a key building block in investor portfolios. Historically, dividends have accounted for more than 40% of the stock market’s returns. They represent real cash in your pocket now. And after watching their paper profits go up in flames twice during the past decade’s two bear markets, burned investors realize that dividends are the only sure profits they can count on from stocks.

More than that, dividend-paying companies are among the most stable and least volatile companies on the market. The constant need to pay cash means these companies are consistently profitable and have management teams capable of keeping them that way.

Yield — a stock’s annual dividend rate per share divided by its share price — is always an important consideration when building a dividend-based portfolio. SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), an ETF better known as the Spider, tracks Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index; as of December, the ETF yielded 1.8%. SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA), formerly called the Diamonds, yielded 2.5%. If you can get yields of this amount from the key market benchmarks, you should eliminate any fund that pays less.

One of the best strategies is to invest in companies that increase their dividends on a regular basis. Firms that boost their payouts regularly are almost always those that generate steadily rising profits and are run by managers who are confident about the future.

Our top choice is SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY), which tracks the S&P High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats Index. It holds 60 companies from the S&P 1500 Index that have lifted their dividends at least 25 straight years. Most are high-quality, large-capitalization stocks that trade at reasonable prices.

Over the past five years, SDY returned 3.3% annualized, beating the S&P 500 by an average of one percentage point per year. In 2010, the ETF returned 16.4%, compared with the S&P’s 15.1% rise. SDY’s annual expense ratio is 0.35%. (All returns are through December 31.)

For the full write up on the other five ETFs, WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (DEM), First Trust DJ Global Select Dividend Index Fund (FGD), iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index Fund (PFF), Guggenheim Multi-Asset Income ETF (CVY) go to Kiplinger.com to read 5 ETFs for the Dividend Investors.

XLF Rallies on Bank Buying Bullishness

StreetInsider.com reports that the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) is surging today as investors aggressively buy bank stocks on the heels of the group’s recent bounce.

Midafternoon, the Financial Select Sector SPDR. which tracks all the financial-services companies in the S&P 500 Index, was up 1%, compared to the 0.2% rise in the S&P 500. The ETF had been up as much as 1.2%.

To highlight the level of investors interest, mid afternoon Wednesday, the trading volume in the Financial Select Sector SPDR was 45 million shares, topping the 37 million traded in the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), normally the most activity traded ETF on the market. On an average day, the SPDR trades 179 million, twice as much as XLF’s 88 million.

Despite normally slow volume during this holiday week, XLF is on pace to top its daily average.