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Exchange Traded Funds Hit Record $2.865 Trillion In April; May Reach $5.9 Trillion By 2021

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Exchange traded funds (ETFs) – baskets of assets traded as stocks by investors and institutions that typically charge lower fees than mutual funds – hit a record $2.865 trillion in April, driven by rising stocks, according to a report from ETFGI, an ETF researcher.

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Source: ETFGI

The ETFGI estimate is in line with a February report from PricewaterhouseCoopers that pegged ETF assets at $2.5 trillion and predicted they will rise to $5.9 trillion by the end of 2021, according to Investopedia. Nigel Brashaw, PwC partner and global ETF leader, said the estimates are based on survey data, analysis and modeling.

Milestone Reached Following Elections

The iShares ETF from BlackRock Inc. surpassed the $1 trillion asset mark for the first time in January, Reuters reported. The milestone came following a shift in markets following the November U.S. presidential election, carrying a stock rally.

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ETFs’ low cost and tax efficiency is expected to drive this growth, along with investor disappointment with high fees and poor returns on actively managed funds.

The demand for ETFs has survived questions over the funds’ durability in periods of market stress.

Martin Small, the U.S. head of iShares, said clients are using iShares ETFs in place of individual securities to trade more efficiently than futures, individual bonds and swaps to assume long term positions.

Equity Markets Drive ETF Growth

“Investors continued to favor equities over fixed income and commodities as equity markets performed positively in April,” said Deborah Fuhr, ETFGI managing partner and co-founder. She said the S&P 500 was up 1%, while emerging markets and global equity markets outside the U.S. were both up 2% in April.
“Investors were captivated by a closely-fought first round of the French elections during April,” she said.

U.S. listed ETFs/exchange traded products (ETPs) gathered $36.09 billion in April, a record amount of net inflows for the month and marking the 14th straight month of net inflows, according to ETFGI, which according to its website is the leading independent research and consultancy firm on trends in the global ETF/ETP ecosystem, based in London, England.

Equity ETFs/ETPs took in the highest net inflows with $26.41 billion, followed by fixed income ETFs/ETPs with $8.83 billion. Commodity ETFs/ETPs suffered net outflows of $889 million.
Inflows year to date reached a record $169.71 billion compared to $45.31 billion last year.

iShares accounted for April’s largest net ETF/ETP inflows with $24.21 billion, followed by Vanguard at $9.93 billion and Schwab ETFs with $2.53 billion.

Year to date, iShares took in the largest net ETF/ETP inflows of $78.53 billion, followed by Vanguard’s $50.43 billion and Schwab ETFs’ $9.21 billion.

Passive ETFs To Lead Growth

Passive ETFs that track market indices will provide the majority of the next $1 trillion in U.S. ETFs, according to PwC’s Brashaw. PwC expects smart growth ETFs to be a more critical part of the market in the future.

Actively managed funds that are not transparent represent another segment of the market. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires daily transparency of actively managed ETFs, Brashaw said. He said this segment of the ETF market will expand if the SEC eliminates the daily transparency rule, which does not apply to mutual funds. He predicts the transparency rule will be changed at some point in the future.

The transparency rule is less of an impediment to actively managed fixed income ETFs.

Cost Drives Passive Index ETFs

Low cost is the main consideration for passive index trackers, Brashaw said. For the other two types of ETFs, investment managers’ track records are the main differentiating factors.

The average ETF investor is usually younger or has higher net worth and more sophistication than the average investor overall.

Robo advisors tend to use ETFs on account of the lower cost. Robo advisors will face higher performance and digital delivery channel expectations over time.

More investment strategists are using ETFs for building portfolios, including some who completely use ETFs.

Bitcoin ETF Awaited

Cryptocurrency users, meanwhile, are awaiting the SEC’s approval of the first bitcoin ETF since it will make the cryptocurrency more accessible to the investors and enhance its credibility. The SEC rejected a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) sought by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss in March, but the proposal is currently under review.

ETF holdings by individual investors have been stable at 45% to 55% of total U.S. assets even as interest from institutional investors and the ETF market itself has grown, according to Brashaw.

S&P 500 ETF Benefits

The S&P 500 is considered by many to be the best representation of the U.S. economy since it covers all the main economic sectors and covers about 80% of the country’s market capitalization. About $7.8 trillion of investor cash is held in the index’s equities, of which more than $2 trillion is in index ETFs.
Some S&P 500 ETFs do a better job of replicating the index benchmark while some do a better job at a lower cost.

Warren Buffet has suggested investing 90% of retirement funds in S&P 500 ETFs.

ETF Picks For 2017

Top ETF picks for 2017 according to Investopedia are as follows:

SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)

Issued by State Street Global Advisors, SPDR S&P 500 ETF had $227 billion under management and has increased 4.13% year to date as of March with a 0.09% expense ratio.

SPY is a unit investment trust and technically not an ETF. It is the oldest of the S&P 500 benchmarked funds and has the most assets under management. The fund trades in excess of $25 billion daily, making it an attractive tactical trading instrument in addition to being a buy-and-hold investment.

iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV)

With $94.5 billion assets under management, iShares Core S&P ETF gained 4.09% year to date as of March with a 0.04% expense ratio. The fund offers S&P 500 exposure at low prices. The fund is liquid for every class of investor, with more than 3 million shares trading daily.

Unlike SPY, the iShares Core S&P 500 is a true ETF, escaping the cash drag that is inherent in a unit investment trust.

Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO)

With $61 billion in assets under management, the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF gained 4.09% year to date as of March with a 0.05% expense ratio. The fund offers low costs, high liquidity and offers large-cap coverage of an S&P 500 benchmark fund.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.8 stars on average, based on 4 rated postsLester Coleman is a veteran business journalist based in the United States. He has covered the payments industry for several years and is available for writing assignments.




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Analysis

Crypto Update: Coins Remain Under Pressure but Supports Still Hold

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The correction of the post-crash rally is still dominant in the cryptocurrency segment, despite the encouraging bounce on Friday, as Bitcoin is dragging the market lower. The coin turned relatively weak in recent days after an extended period of outperformance, but even BTC is holding up well, with the bearish momentum being far from disastrous.

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Ethereum’s relative strength, on the other hand, is slowly building, as we first noted it during the Thursday sell-off, and the second largest could be spearhead the next leg higher. The early leaders of the rally, Ethereum Classic and Litecoin are also acting bullish, and the overall picture remains in line with the orderly correction scenario.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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Bitcoin still hasn’t tested the key $9000-$9200 zone despite several waves of selling that hit the coin, but it’s still stuck below the $10,000 level. We expect a short-term bottom in the coming week, as the momentum of the decline suggests accumulation, and investors should use the dip to add to their holdings, even if a test of the primary support zone is still possible here, with further resistance levels ahead above $10,000 at $11,300, $11,750, and $13,000.

LTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Litecoin put in a higher short-term low during the weekend, retaining its leading position in the rally from a technical standpoint. The MACD indicator already gave a bullish signal after dipping into negative territory, but should Bitcoin continue to struggle, LTC could be in for more consolidation before despite the relative strength. The $200 level is still in focus with a strong resistance zone just ahead between $220 and $235, with the rally high at $250, while further key support is at $180.

Altcoins Mixed in Quiet Trading

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Percentage changes are not significant today following yesterday’s decline, and most of the majors are holding up above or near key support levels, with relatively low volatility and notable divergence between the coins.

As for the recently weaker coins, Ripple is still trading well below the $1 level, while IOTA managed to bounce hard off the correction low reaching back to the $1.9 resistance, and edging closer to a break-out from the still dominant downtrend.

The rest of most established coins are still drifting lower, with no major moves in the last few days, so without notable red flags, we remain positive regarding the long-term setup.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 115 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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Altcoins

DigixDAO: The Only Light in a Sea of Red

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DigixDao (DGD) advanced briskly on Saturday, confounding a broad downtrend in the cryptocurrency market that dragged most of the top-30 coins lower.

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DGD Price Levels

DGD rose more than 22% on Saturday, reaching $390 per token, according to data provider CoinMarektCap. The cryptocurrency was up nearly 26% against bitcoin and more than 23% versus ether.

At current price levels, DGD has a market cap of $779 million based on a circulating supply of 2 million coins. That’s enough for 30th place among active cryptocurrencies in terms of overall market cap.

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Trade volumes in the last 24 hours reached $77.3 million, with the vast majority of the trades being placed on Binance against bitcoin. Between bitcoin and Ethereum, Binance processed roughly 86% of the daily trade volume.

DGD has rebounded more than 83% from its recent swing low, but is still trading 14% below its all-time settlement high of $456.44 on Feb. 2.

Beating the Market

DigixDAO’s native coin has been rising gradually even as a week-long pullback in the crypto space shaved tens of billions of dollars off the collective market cap. This isn’t the first time DGD has outpaced the market. Three weeks ago, Hacked reported impressive gains for the cryptocurrency as virtually every other digital asset in the top-100 declined double digits.

At the time of writing, the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies was $430.5 billion, down 3.4% from the previous day and 6.7% from the intraday high of $461.6 billion.

Aside from DGD, Ethereum Classic was the only cryptocurrency in the top-30 to report gains on Saturday.

DAO Platform

As a Distributed Autonomous Organization (DAO), Digix was part of Ethereum’s first public crowdraise all the way back in 2016. The token raise launched in March of that year and reached its crowdfunding goal of $5.5 million in 12 hours.

DigixDAO is often referred to as a gold-backed cryptocurrency, but this only applies to its DGX token. The company operates two tokens, with DGX supposedly pegged to one gram of gold. Gold futures are up more than 15% year-to-date on a tumbling dollar and wavering risk sentiment.

Unlike most digital currency systems, the DAO protocol gives investors a voice in the company’s decision-making process. Depending on how the DAO is structured, investors can vote on how funds are deployed or which business proposals it entertains.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin is planning to make DAOs central to future crowdraises. This will be accomplished by a new protocol called “DAICO,” or Decentralized Autonomous Organization Initial Coin Offering. Gaming platform The Abyss recently announced it will be the first company to utilize the DAICO model.

Through DAICO, companies can encode specific rules into their crowdfunding campaigns, such as KYC/AML requirements and investor approval for accessing project funds. The specifications behind DAICO were first laid out in January blog post penned by Buterin.

No other project has announced plans to utilize the DAICO model, although this may soon change as demand for transparency continues to grow.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 166 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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Analysis

Technical Analysis: Majors Stage Rally but Strong Levels Still Ahead

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The cryptocurrency segment has recovered from a broad correction today in early trading, with the most valuable coins all turning into green during the session, despite the bearish start to the overnight session. With bottom-to-top gains of up to 15%, the rally helped in easing the worries of bulls, especially in the case of the relatively weaker coins.

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Bitcoin and most of the largest altcoins remained stable during the selloff, and BTC recaptured the $10,000 level quickly after trading as low as $9600 overnight. The initial rally topped out near $10,400, and the coin is trading back near the $10,000 level, as the bullish momentum faded away somewhat.

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

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That said, we expect the uptrend to continue even if the correction could still carry Bitcoin lower. Further strong support is found between $9000 and $9200, while targets are ahead at $11,300, $13,000, and $14,250.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ethereum showed strength during the bounce again after yesterday, together with the early leaders of the rally, and although the coin dipped below the $845 level in the second half of the session, the signs remain positive for bulls. Support levels are now found at $780, $740, $625 and $575, while resistance is ahead near $910 and $1000.

(more…)

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.7 stars on average, based on 115 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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