NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Don Dion posts his current insights on the stock, bond, commodity and currency markets in his RealMoney blog, anticipating which ETFs will be in play next. Here are three of his blog posts from the past week:
To be honest, it is refreshing to see an issuer react to a changing marketplace and not just throw ideas at the wall to see what sticks. Trouble has been brewing for other muni bond ETFs -- such as the iShares S&P National AMT-Free Municipal Bond ETF ( MUB) and the SPDR Nuveen Barclays Capital Municipal Bond ETF ( TFI) -- so it is probably just as well that Vanguard stays out of this corner of the ETF marketplace. MUB and TFI have had trouble tracking their underlying indices in both the short and long term. Yesterday I wrote a post about BlackRock's ( BLK) effort to cut fees for its international funds, which have gotten plenty of competition from Vanguard's lower-cost models. In the race to launch new products and corner segments of the market, ETF issuers often look before they leap. As the ETF industry matures, however, let's hope that there will be more "lessons learned" and fewer flops. At the time of publication, Dion Money Management had no positions in stocks mentioned.
As of yesterday's close, however, new data show an interesting shift. Total assets in PPLT and PALL are $770 million and $842 million respectively. Total shares outstanding -- an even better indication of investor demand -- for PPLT and PALL were 4.45 million and 11.25 million. To me, this shift shows a willingness on the part of investors to move beyond physically backed investments that are more often considered "precious". Both PALL and PPLT had a stellar first year, but 2011 could be even brighter. Global auto sales have been on the rebound, and both platinum and palladium are used in the production of catalytic converters. Beyond the industrial applications of their underlying commodities, however, PALL and PPLT will continue to be attractive to investors who are looking to diversify away from equities and currencies in an uncertain economy. At the time of publication, Dion Money Management had no positions in stocks mentioned.