VanEck has partnered with SolidX, a financial-technology firm that works with bitcoin, to seek approval from the SEC for an ETF investing directly in bitcoin, according to this SmartBrief/ETF Trends report. The VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust ETF would be linked to an index based on pricing data from several trading desks.

"I'm honestly one of those that see bitcoin as pure speculation -- not something I'd consider as part of a retirement plan or portfolio," says Jason Browne, the chief investment officer at FundX Investment Group. "There are ETFs that own tech companies that benefit from blockchain and the bitcoin craze that I might consider, but I prefer to focus on more traditional funds for retirement accounts."

One fund to consider as alternative is the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC).

Reality Shares has launched Reality Shares Nasdaq NexGen Economy China ETF (BCNA). The fund seeks long-term growth by tracking the investment returns, before fees and expenses, of the Reality Shares Nasdaq Blockchain China Index comprised of blockchain-related companies located in Hong Kong and mainland China.

State Street Global Advisors has launched the Communication Services Select Sector SPDR Fund(XLC). The fund seeks to provide investment results that, before expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Communication Services Select Sector Index. That index seeks to provide an effective representation of the communication services sector of the S&P 500 Index. The fund seeks to provide precise exposure to companies from the media, retailing, and software & services industries in the U.S.

A JPMorgan Chase unit has launched JPMorgan BetaBuilders MSCI US REIT ETF (BBRE). The fund is designed to provide exposure to the U.S. equity Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) market using an indexed approach. The fund seeks investment results that closely correspond to the U.S. equity REIT market by investing at least 80% of its assets in securities included in the MSCI US REIT Index. That index is a free-float adjusted market-cap weighted index made up of the stocks of publicly traded equity REITs. The fund uses a "passive" investment approach.

According to Lou Conrad, president of COMPASS Wealth Management, this new JPMorgan offering has the potential to attract considerable assets given its attractive expense level. "REITs have long been an attractive area of the market, which provide retirement investors the potential for long-term appreciation along with historically attractive dividend yields," says Conrad. "By providing a diversified, passive approach to REITs at a low cost, JPMorgan has provided investors with an attractive vehicle to allocate a portion of their overall portfolio to REITs," he notes.

However, Conrad suggests that investors wait for BBRE's trading volumes to reach critical mass before investing in this new ETF to ensure a healthy market has developed and the bid/ask spread is narrow. Further, Conrad states that retirement investors understand that dividend-rich equities, such as REITs, may find the current market environment, where interest rates are on the rise, to be difficult for capital appreciation.

First Trust plans to rebrand two of its exchange-traded funds and switch the indexes they track toward the end of August. The First Trust International Multi-Asset Diversified Income ETF will be renamed the First Trust S&P International Dividend Aristocrats ETF linked to the S&P International Dividend Aristocrats Index, while the First Trust RBA Quality Income ETF will become the First Trust Dorsey Wright Momentum & Dividend ETF tracking the Nasdaq Dorsey Wright Momentum + Yield Index. SmartBrief/ETF

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