The proliferation of ETFs has long been talked about and now there is basically an ETF for just about any investing situation you can think of. The rise in popularity for managed ETFs has now opened the door for managers to make the ridiculous now possible. Need to find an ETF that tracks Uzbekistan goat-herding clean bio-fuel companies? No problem, we'll slap one together for ya!!!
But the arms race in ETFs has seemed to have taken a new turn-anti-American sentiment. There is no shortage of bad news surrounding the US economy and foreign governments have made no secret of the fact that they would LOVE to see the US lose its place at the head of the table and fall back to "equal footing" with their own economies. The call for a new world currency is just the beginning of this sentiment.
I'm not sure whether or not our current leaders are doing us any favors by groveling and acquiescing to foreign governments who have been allowed to manipulate (China) and steal (Russia) in order to regain strength. But no matter, this is the collision course we are on and how it will play out is anyone's guess.
But one thing for is for certain: savvy ETF companies will be more than happy to capitalize on this growing trend! There is now a focus on ETFs that trade on non-US exchanges and in non-US dollars. And let's not forget the leveraged ETFs which are also looking to get in on the act. Let's take a look at 3 ETFs that are looking to exploit this paradigm shift.
1. The Claymore Gold Bullion Trust (CGL-UN.TO) This ETF trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and buys gold in Canadian dollars, rather than US dollars. What this accomplishes is allowing investors to take advantage of the upside in gold, while at the same time not having to have gains reduced by a potential fall in the US dollar. Take a look at our currency course to learn more about these relationships.
2. The iShares MSCI World Islamic ETF (ISWD.L) This ETF is designed to track the performance of the MSCI World Index, but screens according to Shari'ah Investment principles. Upon closer inspection of this ETF, is anyone surprised that the top 5 holdings are US companies-- Exxon (XOM), AT&T (T), IBM (IBM), Procter & Gamble (PG), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)? Looks more like a US Large Cap Fund to me. Shhhh!
3. Lastly, let's look the Direxion Daily 10-Yr (TYO) and 30-Yr (TMV) Treasury Bear 3x Shares These ETFs are leveraged ETFs that look to take advantage of falling bond prices and rising yields. Not only that, but they give you 300% of any potential move. I must admit, I kind of fancy the moxie of these ETFs. Just think: if I buy these in my margin account using 4-1 leverage, I can get a full %1200!
As we can see, for as bad the US may be and as unpopular as we are at the moment, I'm glad to see that some are not discouraged by this and actually embrace the principles that founded this country. However, the same can't be said for investors in these vehicles, which have been reporting low trading volumes. Could this rise in the number of ETFs that are shifting the focus away from the US actually be telling us that we are near a bottom in the economy? Perhaps the US is not as bad as everyone seems to be saying!!!