I am retired and take educated guesses on all things financial.

March 15, 2010

March 15, 2010: Shaking The Tree, A Few Eclectic ETFs/ETNs.

We all enjoy searching for profit in an expanding universe of security opportunities. Sometimes it is fun to search recreationally for a few ideas, some of which are eclectic. Here are a few you may find fitting that descriptor:

FaithShares Christian Value ETF (FOC): Trading at $27.17 with a trading range since the late 2009 inception of $24.86-28.60. Average volume 2,200 shares. Yield .34% and expenses .84%. The fund is designed to invest at least 80% of assets in securities that comprise the CHV index, which measures the performance of large cap U.S. companies screened based upon Christian Best Practices. Some companies qualifying may surprise you. Market cap to date is $2.6m. FaithShares also offer Catholic, Baptist and other religious-centric ETFs. Many of the same companies are in each.

Credit Suisse Nassau Global Warming ETN (GWO): Trading at $6.97 with a trading range since inception in September, 2009 of $3.09-9.59. Average volume is 865 shares. Yield is nil and expenses are .75%. The fund seeks to replicate the Credit Suisse Global Warming Index. The index covers a wide spectrum of green companies that meet the index criteria. I suspect it was just bad luck that GWO appeared very close to the oft-derided Copenhagen Global Warming Summit and the frauds and fiasco's that exposed a great deal of global warming science as suspect. The ETN has a market cap of $2.8m. Maybe there will be more interest when companies in this sector actually display a profit without government subsidies.

Now, three that show promise:

Claymore Global Shipping ETF (SEA): Trading at %15.05 with a 52-week trading range of $7.76-15.40. Average volume is a hefty 152,000 shares. Yield is .90% and expenses are .65%. This timely ETF seeks to track the performance of the Delta Global Shipping index. SEA will hold at least 90% of total assets in common stocks, ADRs, global depositary receipts (GDRs) and MLPs of qualifying companies. This is an interesting play on world trade and a gradual recovery from deep recession. The ETF has a market cap of $136.1m.

Claymore Canadian Energy ETF (ENY): Trading at $18.12 with a 52-week trading range of $8.25-18.48. Average volume is about 32,500 shares. Yield is 2.53% and expenses are .65%. ENY tracks the Sustainable Canadian Energy Income index. The index is comprised of thirty stocks qualifying from the Toronto Stock Exchange. The mix is varied and subject to "other criteria" vs. proven results and weighting. I believe that the yield is paltry compared to what an investor may select independently. However, the performance has been good overall and the $83m market cap indicates that this ETF is going to be around indefinitely. Average volume is approximately 33,700 shares.

ETFS Palladium ETF (PALL): This newcomer trades at $46.27 with a trading range of $38.49-47.78 since inception in early February of his year. With a market cap of over $234m and average trading volume of over 217,000 shares, this ETF is very popular and one of many that are presently or going to be involved in the direct purchase and storage of metals other than gold and silver. Expenses are .60%. The sub-sector of storage commodities should prove to be very interesting to investors that want some direct exposure to product rather than indirectly through securities of commodity companies.

As investors seek out funds in specific niche areas, it is a good idea to take a hard look at market cap, daily volume and expenses. Like micro-cap stocks, many of these so-called boutique funds may be destined to end their stint on the ash heap of history sooner rather than later.

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