Over the past week, ETF-hungry investors were served up 20 new offerings that provide exposure to niche markets, currencies and sophisticated trading strategies, though they may not be the best choice on the menu for the everyday retail investor.
The most recent offering hit the market Monday, with the debut of Rydex Investments' six new ETFs tracking foreign currencies. Rydex had already created the first currency ETF with the
Euro Currency Trust
, an ETF that tracks the euro.
Its new funds are the
CurrencyShares British Pound Sterling Trust
CurrencyShares Australian Dollar Trust
CurrencyShares Canadian Dollar Trust
CurrencyShares Mexican Peso Trust
CurrencyShares Swedish Krona Trust
CurrencyShares Swiss Franc Trust
All of these currency plays hold the actual currencies rather than futures contracts, and thus mimic the currency's spot price. A single share of each ETF represents 100 units of the base currency.
Meanwhile, last week saw the launch of new ETFs from ProShares and State Street Global Advisors, the investment management group of
Four of the ProShares offerings allow investors to get short exposure to a stock index without having to set up margin accounts or cover margin calls:
Short QQQ ProShares
Short S&P500 ProShares
Short MidCap400 ProShares
Short Dow30 ProShares
. Each ETF bets against the titular index.
For magnified exposure, ProShares also set up "ultra funds." These ETFs are designed to capture
twice the move
of the underlying indices mimicked.
SSgA's new funds, which started trading on the American Stock Exchange Thursday, include ETFs focusing on the red-hot oil industry -- the
SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services
SPDR Oil & Gas Exploration & Drilling
funds -- as well as the mining industry, with the
SPDR Metals and Mining
fund. Its other new offerings track the pharmaceutical, banking and retail sectors.
While the latest twists on the traditional ETF give investors an opportunity for diversification or an inroad into the world of a sophisticated short-seller, they also assume an investor can use these products as an active money manager might, says Sonya Morris, a mutual fund analyst with Morningstar. And of course, not all retail investors are that savvy.