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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.

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Cryptocurrencies

How Bithumb Listing is Boosting Zcash Cryptocurrency on the Coin Market

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Zcash, previously referred to as ‘ZeroCoin’ or ‘Zerocash’, recently got listed on Bithumb as the ninth coin. The move has attracted attention to this private digital currency that came into existence in October, 2016.

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Prior to its listing on Bithumb, Zcash traded on a virtual asset exchange called Poloniex in the United States. Zcash value and technology were subjected to a thorough review before gaining entry to the South Korea market via Bithumb, the biggest exchange for digital currencies in the country.

Competing Closely

Though Zcash displayed signs of slow growth early this year, it recovered strongly in June with its price hitting the $435 mark, up from $26. There is no doubt that this digital coin is now competing closely with other bigger digital currencies in the cryptocurrency space. It is currently trading between $217 and $304.

Denitza Tyufekchieva, CEO at Propy says, “Such dramatic price changes of cryptocurrencies can be explained with speculation, especially after such announcement. However, what brings such increase in the long-term is usually the product advancement. In the case of Zcash, The Zcash team has made great strides on performance since their initial release. In the pending Sapling network upgrade, users will see significant performance improvements. This could mean a potential increase in the demand.”

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The stabilizing price of Zcash indicates its competitiveness. It  also shows that the coin does not differ too much with other high ranking cryptocurrencies like Ripple, Dash and Ethereum. Currently, there are 2.31 million Zcash coins in circulation.

Secure and Private

Drawing inspiration from the Bitcoin, Zcash boosts privacy through its cryptographic tool, zkSNARKS, an element that is not provided for in Bitcoin.

This outstanding security and technology underlying Zcash coin captivated the coin market. It has led to a surge in the coin’s market capitalization which is now at $648.5 million, up from $1.3 million at the time of listing on Bithumb.

On the coin market, Zcash improved in ranking now at  the 15th position, from position 30 in December 2016. The coin has been experiencing steady growth with its every day exchange volumes between $26 million and $43 million.

However, Angel Versetti of Ambrosus notes that, “Fluctuations like this make one jealous of cryptocurrency exchange owners, because no matter which way it goes as long as there is volatility and massive trading riding the wave, the house always wins.”

Traders find the coin’s untraceability compelling with its encryption serving to conceal user identity, protect privacy and conceal transaction amounts. Zchash’s protective anonymity has seen its value attract recognition in US’s Silicon Valley as well as globally in countries such as China, Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil and South Africa.

However, it is important to note that with Zcash, users are not be able to conduct audits on the blockchain. According to Kamil Przeorski, CEO and founder of Experty.io, this poses a risk for Zcash holders particularly if a bug hits the codebase.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Technical Analysis: NEO Jumps as Broad Markets Turns Lower

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As the new waves of regulatory changes keep on hitting the segment, the major cryptocurrencies are mostly lower today. After the major update of Ethereum, and the recent surge in the price of Bitcoin, choppy conditions developed, with no clear short-term trend in most of the coins.

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NEO is the best performing major today, as it surged back to the $30 level after a frustrating period that was dominated by a downward drift.  The coin is now just below the key resistance level, and it could be ready to test the $34 level, with a further target found at $40. The long-term picture still looks positive, with strong support levels at $27 and $25.

NEO/USDT, Daily Chart Analysis

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Ethereum is in a consolidation after the encouraging rally towards the end of last week, while Bitcoin is also correction after its stellar rise. The two largest coins pulled the rest of the majors lower, while Ripple remained very volatile after touching the $0.30 level yesterday, trading below the $0.26 again.

Litecoin, Dash, Monero, and IOTA are all a bit lower today, while Ethereum Classic found some relative strength, although it remains stuck in a declining short-term trend. All in all, the segment is still in a clear uptrend, so let’s see which coins are the most promising regarding the short-term picture.

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Cryptocurrencies

Trade Recommendation: Syscoin

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The market bounced from the support level and broke SMA100. It gave us a trend reversal signal. MACD and DMI support upward movement. We can use the local swing high and a breakout signal for opening long trades. Entry level is 0.000037 with stop orders below the support at 0.000022 level. Profit targets are 0.000050 and 0.000060 levels. If you don’t use leverage, recommended trading volume for this trade is up to 5% from your deposit.

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Market: SYSBTC
Buy: 0.000037
Stop: 0.000022
Profit Targets: 0.000050 and 0.000060

The trading signal is based on Poloniex chart.

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