Market Overview

4 Highly Troubling ETF Performances (SLX, EPOL, URA)


It's no secret that risk on has been turned off in earnest since the start of the second quarter. In the process, plenty of formerly glamorous ETFs have been knocked down. Some are now back within earshot of their 52-week lows.

Is always the case with the financial markets, there is bad, worse and truly ugly. So while this market setting may conducive to doing some dip buying and it probably is, that ebullience cannot be universally applied to all plain vanilla long ETFs.

Simply put, there are some funds that, at their best, are going to require intense amounts of patience before significant upside is realized. Here are some of the ugliest of the recent ugly performances.

Market Vectors Steel ETF (NYSE: SLX) The Market Vectors Steel ETF also made our list of fallen January/February stars and the bearishness has not only continued, but accelerated in recent weeks. In the past month, SLX has lost nearly 18% and it would surprise no one to see the fund retest its 52-week low just below $39 before it flirts with $46 and its 20-day moving average again.

The bull case here is steelmakers are better managed today than they have been in the past and they're bettered prepared when it comes to dealing with slack prices and demand. Encouraging factors, but ones that could take a while to have a meaningful impact on SLX.

Global X Uranium ETF (NYSE: URA) URA's membership on this list isn't surprising. It's a risk on, commodity play. What may come as a surprise to some is just how harsh the repudiation of this ETF has been. URA is down almost 20% in the past month. As if that's not bad enough, consider this little factoid: Earlier this week, URA was trading at levels BELOW where it plunged to after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (NYSE: EWA) By comparison to SLX and URA, the 13.5% tumble in the past month for the iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund isn't all that bad. However, EWA's decline reinforces the notion that although Australia is developed market and financials account for over 45% of the ETF's weight, its correlation to the commodities trade forces traders to treat this fund almost like an emerging markets play.

BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP), the world's largest mining and EWA's largest constituent with an allocation of almost 13%, has played a large part in EWA's recent demise. The Anglo-Aussie mining giant is off 16% in the past month and flirting with a new 52-week low.

iShares MSCI Poland Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: EPOL) We recently noted that EPOL and the rival Market Vectors Poland ETF (NYSE: PLND) quietly entered bear market territory. Compounding their woes is the fact that the lows being set these funds recently aren't just 52-week lows, they're all-time lows.

EPOL needs to find support at $20 and PLND needs support to hold at $16 or both risk even more near-term downside.

For more on troubling ETF performances, please click HERE.


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