New Kids On The Block: First Trust's Top New ETFs Of 2011
It's back. One of our most popular features from the December 2010 holiday season returns as Benzinga examines some of the top new ETFs of 2011 and the issuers behind those funds. And what a year to do that.
Sure, the pace of ETF closures has picked up recently, but when the ball drops on 2011, hundreds of new ETFs will have come to market while the amount of ETF closures will be scant by comparison.
Some ETF issuers have been especially prolific this year on the new product front and one of those firms is First Trust, which has been in a race with Global X to see who could bring the most new ETFs to market in 2011. First Trust is now the eleventh-largest U.S. ETF issuer and the firm had 60 ETFs with almost $6.3 billion in assets under management at the end of November, according to National Stock Exchange data.
Remember: We have some rules with this feature. "New" will be defined as ETFs that debuted in 2011. For issuers that have rolled out a lot of new funds, we'll look at only four or five that have been successful in attracting investor inflows.
For example, a First Trust ETF that debuted in January and has only garnered $2 million in AUM (a hypothetical example) will NOT make this list. With that let's a have a look at a few of the firm's more successful new ETFs.
First Trust ISE Cloud Computing Index Fund (Nasdaq: SKYY): Inception date: July 5th Year-to-date performance: -15% Average volume: 46,500 shares Investor Appeal Grade: A. As we have noted SKYY has taken its lumps, but over $60.2 million in AUM indicates investors like the idea of an ETF devoted to cloud computing.
First Trust NASDAQ CEA Smartphone Index Fund (Nasdaq: FONE): Inception date: February 17th Year-to-date performance: -20.7% Average volume: 1,900 shares. Investor Appeal Grade: C-. For all the attention being paid to smartphones as an investment theme, FONE has not shined as bright as some would have predicted. Over $13 million in AUM in less than a year of trading isn't bad and it's enough to keep the ETF alive for a while, but overall FONE has been hung up on by investors. Maybe 2012 will bring better things for this niche ETF.
First Trust NASDAQ Global Auto Index Fund (Nasdaq: CARZ): Inception date: May 9th Year-to-date performance: -24.9% Average volume: 522 shares Investor Appeal Grade: C-. And we're being kind. For a while, there was no ETF devoted to the auto industry, so it looked like CARZ was going to fill a niche that need filling. The ETF only has $3.4 million in AUM. That combined with its weak volume are causes for concern.
First Trust Mid-Cap Growth AlphaDEX Fund (NYSE: FNY): Inception date: April 19th Year-to-date performance: -8% Average volume: 8,500 shares Investor Appeal Grade: B. There are tons of ETFs that are growth and or value plays on the various market cap spectrums, but FNY has handled its rookie year with aplomb, raking in over $7.5 million in AUM. Plus, the ETF's average volume is at least enough to keep it around for a while. FNY is easily an unheralded mid-cap play worth a look in a strong uptrend for the broader market.
Other new ETFs introduced by First Trust this year include the following: First Trust Mega Cap AlphaDEX ETF (NYSE: FMK), First Trust BICK ETF (NYSE: BICK), First Trust Brazil AlphaDEX Fund (NYSE: FBZ), First Trust China AlphaDEX Fund (NYSE: FCA) and the First Trust Mid-Cap Value AlphaDEX Fund (NYSE: FNK).
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