Bitcoin Helped ARK Win 'Top ETF' in 2017

ETF.com’s “ETF of The Year” award went to the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) for 2017. The award was given to ARKK for a number of reasons, but the top two were due to its exposure to disruptive technology in 2017 and its strong performance. Both of those key metrics for winning the award were partly due to the fund's exposure to Bitcoin.

ARKK owned Bitcoin through buying shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC). ARKK had anywhere between 6% and 10% of its assets in GBTC during 2017 while the cryptocurrency rose higher during the end of last year. During that time Bitcoin was often ARKK’s top holding. This helped the fund produce an 85% return for investors in 2017. Just for comparison, GBTC was up roughly 1,550% in 2017.

What’s more interesting though is that while GBTC is now down more than 65% year-to-date in 2018, ARKK is up more than 21% this year. The main reason for this reversal is because sometime in January of 2018 ARKK’s management team started selling their position in GBTC. As of today, ARKK still has a small position in GBTC, but it represents just 0.26% of the fund's assets.

ARK, the issuer of the ARKK ETF recently told ETF.com that it was a “complicated decision” to cut its Bitcoin investments, but that it was driven largely by regulatory and tax concerns, more so than the true “merits” of Bitcoin. Continue reading "Bitcoin Helped ARK Win 'Top ETF' in 2017"

Top ETFs For The First Half Of 2018

2018 has been a wild year with the bursting of the Bitcoin Bubble, some President Trump induced rallies and declines, trade war fears, North Korean diplomacy and the Facebook data scandal. But most all of, after the stock market rallying for years, its beginning to show signs of sluggishness as the S&P 500 is up a mere 0.84% during the first half of 2018.

But despite the weakness of the overall market, some investors, with the help of a few Exchange Traded Funds have made money during the first half of the year. Let us take a look at the top four, non-leveraged, non-VIX ETF’s during the first half of 2018.

The best performing non-leveraged, non-VIX ETF was the Invesco S&P SmallCap Health Care ETF (PSCH) which rose by 30.62%. Over the last 12 months, PSCH is up more than 45% after climbing an additional 16% during the most recent three months. The fund owns small cap stocks which operate in the healthcare sector and currently more then 75% of the assets are in companies that have a market cap smaller than $2.7 billion. The fund tends to lean towards healthcare equipment companies and healthcare providers more so than drug companies. The averagely weighted market cap is just $2.5 billion. The fund currently has $752 million in assets under management and 74 holdings. The top three holdings are Chemed Corp. (CHE), Haemonetics Corp. (HAE), and Neogen Corp. (NEOG). The funds top ten stocks make up 33% of assets, and it will cost an investor 0.29% to own PSCH on a yearly basis.

An aging population which is living longer than any other generation before it tends to be good for the healthcare industry. While PSCH may not end the year as the top ETF, it is indeed one you could buy now and feel comfortable owning for years to come. Continue reading "Top ETFs For The First Half Of 2018"

Oil and Gas ETFs Are Having a Good 2018

Thus far in 2018, the oil and gas industry has been booming. Rig counts in the US are up, prices at the pump are up, and the oil and gas ETFs tracking the sector are up by a lot.

Investors who have been following the industry over the past year could have made some serious money as a few of the leveraged ETFs are up 238% or more. The Velocity Shares 3X Long Crude Oil ETN (UWT) is up 247% over the last 12 months and is up more than 70% year-to-date. The UBS ETRACS ProShares Daily 3X Long Crude ETN (WTIU) has risen 240% over the last year and 64% year-to-date. Finally, the Proshares UltraPro 3X Crude Oil ETF (OILU) is up 238% over the last 12 months and 63% year-to-date.

But, perhaps your less risky and don’t like investing in the leveraged ETFs? Well, you still could have done well as the United States Brent Oil Fund LP (BNO) is up 71% over the last year and 19.9% since the start of 2018. Or perhaps you went with the ProShares K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF (OILK) which is up 62% in the past 12 months and 23% year-to-date. Or either the iPath Series B S&P GSCI Crude Oil ETN (OILB) or the United States Oil Fund LP (USO) which are both up more than 61% over the last year and 23% year-to-date.

There have been some reasons why the industry has been on a tear over the last, and many of that reason don’t show signs of changing in the short term. OPEC is committed to increasing the price of oil (despite its recent modest increase in production), smaller US outfits still need slightly higher prices before they can add additional rigs and become profitable, the economy appears to be healthy and growing, US consumers have not yet begun to fell the “pain at the pump” again really. Continue reading "Oil and Gas ETFs Are Having a Good 2018"

Now Is The Time To Believe In Solar Energy

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs - Solar Energy


On May 9th the California Energy Commission approved a proposal to require most new homes built after January 1st, 2020 will be required to have solar panels installed on them. The new regulations will undoubtedly be a boom for an industry that had a rough time in 2017, the first-year installations declined.

The new ruling piggy-backs on a 2013 requirement that all new homes be “solar-ready.” The solar-ready rule indicated that new homes be built with a certain amount of roof space so that a future homeowner had the option to add solar panels at a later date.

The most recent rule will no longer give homeowners or builders the option to forgo the upfront cost of solar panels, which some estimate will be high as $30,000 per home. The most persuasive arguments against the new rule are just that, the additional costs of the home. California is by most measures already in a housing crisis regarding costs; many believe this will only compound the problem.

But, that also leads to some excellent investment opportunities. The solar panel industry is going to see a massive, built-in installation base. In 2017 California saw over 53,000 single family homes built and most would agree that number needs to be higher in a state with an ever-growing population.

On a very conservative basis, that number will grow to 55,000 in 2020. It is currently estimated that only about 600,000 homes in California currently have solar panels. So, to think that number of easily more than double in a few years when all new homes are required to have solar power, it's clear the investment opportunity in solar is huge. And remember, this is just California we are talking about, other states such as Arizona and Florida, (parts of Miami already have) also could pass similar regulations.

So, how do you cash in on this opportunity? Continue reading "Now Is The Time To Believe In Solar Energy"

Three Politically Focused ETFs

Matt Thalman - INO.com Contributor - ETFs - Politically Focused ETFs


While some investors like to think a company has sole control of their destiny, most wise investors know that outside factors do play a large role in whether a company will succeed or fail, both in the short and long run. Politics may be one of, if not the strongest outside forces that can affect a company’s long-term prospects.

A perfect example of this is playing out right now with the tariff wars raging between the USA and the rest of the world. US steel and aluminum companies seem to be poised to have a decent future as high tariffs are now being placed on imported metal. This is all being sold by the politicians to ensure national security. The idea is that without a steel and aluminum industry, the nation would be at risk if a major war were to break out and there was a shortage of materials.

The tariff’s being placed on imported metals is aimed to help keep US steel and aluminum producers in business. It would appear as of now that this industry and these businesses are certainly benefiting from the Republican’s in the White House.

But, some people believe that’s not the only industry which benefits from the current political leadership. There are currently several Exchange Traded Funds which have been built around industries that may prosper due to the policies being put in place by the current Republican-controlled White House and Congress. Continue reading "Three Politically Focused ETFs"