The same is true in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) craze. There is already an ETF that tracks smartphones: the NASDAQ OMX CEA Smartphone Index (QFON). But like Burger King, we have a brand new ETF that tracks smartphones and other major holdings: the First Trust NASDAQ CEA Smartphone Index Fund (FONE).
By now, most investors have heard the rallying cry of this market: "Just buy the dip!" However, the tape has been so strong that it can sometimes be difficult to find substantial dips that provide a good, low-risk entry point to begin building a position. But some potentially promising opportunities do exist. The first of these is an ETF that tracks the Indian stock market -- the iPath MSCI India Index ETN (INP).
This ETF has lost around 13% over the last three months and a little more than 4% during the last month. Year-to-date, it is down more than 14% as Indian stocks have been hurt by interest rate hikes, which have been instituted to try to tame inflation.
Over the years there have been some strange goings on in the commodity markets. One episode that comes to mind is the attempt by the Hunt brothers of Texas to corner the silver market in the 1970s.
Now we have another strange occurrence. The Financial Times reported that one trader holds 80% to 90% of the copper in the London Metals Exchange (LME) warehouses, valued at about $3 billion. We do know that JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is a big player in the copper market. Whether JPMorgan increased its holdings is not known.
In earlier days, the commodities markets were dominated by large trading houses and a small percentage of speculators. The trading houses used the markets to buy and sell their products and hedge their risks.
Now the world of commodities is completely different . Hedge funds, pension funds and mutual funds are a growing force in market participation. This year alone, contracts held by investors rose by 12% through October and are 17% higher than June 2008, as reported by the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
It would seem that the intrinsic wisdom of "physically holding" commodity metals is finally being realized. Copper, for all its earthy commonality and utility, holds great sway over the economies of the world. Copper is a near universal necessity in the movement of electricity, water, and a host of pressurized gasses. Without immediately available copper, life as we know it would most probably come to a sudden, screeching halt.
Over the past couple of weeks, a mystery trader purchased more than 50% of all the copper stocks on the London Metals Exchange, valued at over $1 billion. There were rumors that whoever it was is trying to corner the copper market.
As it happens the mystery bank is JPMorgan Chase (JPM), The Wall Street Journal reported, citing The London Daily Telegraph. The bank bought some of the copper for clients. But the bank owns a large chunk, estimated at 175,000 metric tons.
Sometimes trouble and dissatisfaction propel us to move out of the box, to create something new and different. Such was the case of the World Gold Council. Founded in 1987 by a group of mining companies, its primary goal is to promote the use of gold.
For nearly 20 years the organization plodded along with little success. Then Chris Thompson, the group's chairman came up with the idea of creating a gold fund that would allow ordinary investors to buy into the gold market without either buying physical gold or gold futures. So in 2004, the Council created the SPDR Gold Shares Fund, as reported in the Financial Times.
The recent sell-off in risk assets can be largely attributed to the strength in the U.S. dollar. While on a longer term basis the general decline in the greenback may make fundamental sense, on a near term basis, the currency looks to be oversold and could continue to rally for weeks or months. This is particularly true when considering the precarious nature of the European sovereign debt situation.
It was not that long ago that many observers and investors were calling for the euro to hit parity with the greenback. The recent Irish problems suggest that this kind of talk may get started once again and a substantial decline in the euro seems like a possibility. This is a bullish indication for the dollar.
Proshares UltraShort Barc 20 Year Treasury ETF (TBT) November put option implied volatility is at 33, December and January is at 34, near its 26-week average according to Track Data, suggesting non-directional price movement.
Options Update is by Stock Specialist Paul Foster of theflyonthewall.com.
There are two primary forces at work in world economies. At this time they are driving commodities prices higher. One is the continuing need and demand by emerging nations for raw materials, a trend that is not about to subside. The second is the extra pile of money that the U.S. Federal Reserve is printing that is finding its way into the commodity markets, a driving force for higher prices.
Let's take oil as an example. The International Energy Agency said that that China's needs could drive oil to $110 per barrel by 2015, a 27% premium to the current price, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cut harvest estimates for soybeans and corn.
When you make a prediction, why be squeamish? Meet Shayne McGuire, a 44-year-old fund manager from Texas who runs a $330 million gold portfolio at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. He predicts gold will reach $10,000 per ounce, The Wall Street Journal reports.
McGuire stands alone in his prediction that gold will reach $10,000 per ounce. He started buying gold early in 2007 at $650 per ounce. He was able to convince the Teacher Retirement Fund to buy gold. So far, his gold fund is up 25% over the past year. The gold fund has half of its assets in the SPDR Gold Trust (SPY).
More importantly, China controls 97% of the global production of rare earth metals, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. China is limiting supplies by cutting exports of the metals by 30% next year.
Goldman Sachs (GS) was out with a note on Friday recommending that clients buy long-dated Treasuries ahead of the Federal Reserve quantitative easing announcement, which will take place on Wednesday.
Previously, the consensus was that the Fed would focus on shorter maturity bond purchases. Goldman, however, believes that the purchases will extend out to the 30-year bond.
Exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuer Global X Funds representatives were granted the honor of ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the morning of Friday, Aug. 27. The event was a celebration of sorts for the company's latest bevy of recently released ETFs. One of those new ETFs has more than proven itself worthy of a celebration, and that's the Global X Lithium ETF (LIT).
The fund has been a Wall Street sensation since it began trading on Aug. 4, when it opened up at $17.29 per share. The fund closed at $19.88 on Oct. 20, representing a total return of over +15% in just 11 weeks.
Exchange-traded funds involving solar energy have been stellar over the past two months. A rising stock market and higher oil tends to help. Many companies are raising guidance or are calming fears that margin compression is escalating and that orders are dropping.
We have taken a look at some of the solar ETF products on the market that offer the best alternatives on investing, although there are also some broader ETF products via alternative energy and clean energy ETFs, which of course include heavy weightings in solar stocks. Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) and the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT) are key solar ETFs in the mix. We have also loosely covered solar via broader alternative energy ETFs of PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW), Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (GEX), and the iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index (ICLN). As First Solar Inc. (FSLR) is the largest solar stock out there, we have tried to show how it relates into each because the weighting and balancing of each fund differs.