Blog: Cutting Through the Noise

Say it Ain't SoPrint

Posted on May 31, 2011

By Scott Ronalds

I learned last week that the HealthShares Dermatology and Wound Care ETF has been shut down. A shame, really. Seemed like a solid backbone for a portfolio. Investors who like their ETFs sharp and narrow need not fret, however, as the Direxion Daily Agribusiness Bear 3X Shares ETF is still around (for the time being).

Forbes magazine recently came up with a list of the 15 most outrageous ETFs. Along with the aforementioned, the iShares S&P North American Technology-Multimedia Networking Index Fund, the PowerShares Autonomic Allocation Research Affiliates Portfolio and my personal favorite, the soon-to-be-launched Market Vectors Mongolia ETF, also made the list. Without a doubt, there are some cracks in the ETF halo.

Not only are these products obscure, they can be dangerous for investors not knowing what they’re getting into. As Forbes notes, “Such is the way of things in the byzantine world of ETFs, where offerings have exploded in recent years. Nearly 900 ETFs have been launched over the past five years, leading to a preponderance of funds that straddle the line from obscure to downright bizarre…”

Clearly, bizarre sells well these days. How else do you explain Lady Gaga, The Sister Wives and Charlie Sheen? We’re all a little intrigued by the ludicrous; the last place it belongs, however, is in your portfolio.