Bueller, Bueller: ETFs That Don't Trade Everyday (VIIZ, COLX, EMDI)
Volume has been declining across U.S. equity exchange as traders move toward other assets classes such as options and futures and this scenario has plagued exchange-traded products as well. In a press statement issued on Wednesday, NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX), the operator of the New York Stock Exchange, said "NYSE Euronext U.S. matched exchange-traded funds average daily volume (included in volumes for Tape B and Tape C) of 222 million shares in March 2012 decreased 29.3% compared to March 2011, but increased 4.1% compared to February 2012."
The company went on to add "In the first quarter of 2012, NYSE Euronext U.S. matched exchange-traded funds ADV of 221 million shares was 21.8% below prior year levels."
Still, estimates say that exchange-traded products now account for roughly a third of all volume on U.S. stock exchanges and just because an ETF is thinly traded doesn't mean it can't generate solid returns.
Obviously, there's a difference between "thinly traded" and not trading at all, however, there are some interesting ETFs that are still listed that fall into the category of not trading everyday. Again, this doesn't mean they're bad funds per se, but sporadic trading can be a sign these products will be closed by their sponsors. Just look at this list of ETFs with spotty trading records.
Market Vectors Colombia ETF (NYSE: COLX) There's no denying that Colombia is home to a promising and relevant investment thesis. Those opting to tap into Colombia's growth story appear to be doing so with Ecopetrol (NYSE: EC), the country's state-run oil firm, or the Global X FTSE Colombia 20 ETF (NYSE: GXG).
This isn't an indictment of COLX, but Colombia probably doesn't warrant two ETFs at the moment and GXG's first-to-market status is a big mountain to climb. COLX has only traded in three of the past seven trading days.
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Consumer Discretionary ETF (Nasdaq: EMDI) The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Consumer Discretionary ETF, like COLX, is fighting an uphill battle against an established competitor. In the case of EMDI, we're referring to the EGShares Emerging Markets Consumer (NYSE: ECON). Data from Yahoo finance indicate EMDI hasn't traded since Tuesday and that was the first time since March 29 any EMDI shares had changed hands.
Morgan Stanley Cushing MLP Hi Income ETN (NYSE: MLPY) Some MLP ETFs have surprises that are less than sweet. That's not the case with MLPY, which debuted in March 2011. MLPY has a 12-month trailing yield of 6.94%, according to Bloomberg data. That's excellent, but the ETN doesn't trade much. It looks like MLPY has only traded in three of the past eight trading days.
VelocityShares Long VIX Medium Term ETN (NYSE: VIIZ) From the folks that brought us the unfortunate VelocityShares Daily 2x VIX Short-Term ETN (NYSE: TVIX) comes "the VIIZ." Some folks might remember that old ad campaign for the Wiz electronics store that said "Nobody Beats The Wiz." Well, hardly anybody trades the VIIZ. VIIZ traded on April 9 for the first time since April 3 and hasn't traded in the past three days.
KEYnotes First Trust Enhanced 130/30 Large-Cap ETN (NYSE: JFT) JFT tracks an "index that contains a long position in certain large capitalization securities equal to 130% of the value of the Index and a short position in certain large capitalization securities equal to 30% of the value of the Index as of each quarterly rebalancing date," according to the First Trust Web site. In other words, JFT is arguably complex. It's also undeniably home to weak volume. Just plug the ticker into Yahoo or Google finance to see just how dodgy the trading record is with this ETN.
For more on thinly traded ETFs, please click HERE.
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