ETF Deathwatch January 2009

January 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Commentary, ETF Deathwatch 2009, Sector Rotation, Stocks

The number of ETFs on Deathwatch continues to grow as we enter 2009.  My current list contains 139 names: 97 ETFs and 42 ETNs.  The list includes any ETF/ETN that is at least six months old and had an Average Daily Value Traded of less than $100,000 in December.

Exchange Trade Notes are suffering from concerns of default risk.  The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, which resulted in the demise of three ETNs, is causing investors to hesitate before throwing money into these products.  Unless ETN sponsors to take steps to calm investor fears, their representation on the list is likely to grow in the coming months.

NETS PSI 20 Index Fund (LIS) tops the list for the second month in a row.  It is an ETF designed to track the performance of the PSI 20 Index of Lisbon, Portugal.  Total volume for the month of December was 900 shares.  Although this represents a huge percentage increase from the 211 shares traded in November, it wasn’t enough to improve the fund’s ranking.

NETS has 15 ETFs that track single-country stock exchanges.  Unfortunately, 12 of them are on deathwatch today, and the other three just barely escaped.  In most cases, these are unique and potentially great products.  However, investors don’t seem to know they exist.  If they are to have a chance at surviving, NETS needs to step up their marketing efforts.

The SPA MarketGrader products are in huge trouble.  They have a total of six ETFs and all six of them are on deathwatch.  Once again, these are potentially good products, but marketing efforts have failed to attract any attention.

ETRACS is another group in dire straits with nine of their ten products on the list this month.  ETRACS also has to overcome ETN credit concerns since all ten of their offerings are ETNs.  The Elements offerings are in a similar situation.  All their products are ETNs also, and ten are on deathwatch this month.

XShares continues to struggle.  They shut down all 26 of their HealthShares and Adelante Real Estate Shares in 2008.  The have four remaining products under the TDAX brand, three of which are on our list.  Claymore also saw a large number of ETF closures in 2008 yet has another 19 on the list this month.

The reason for so many products being on the list is simple – too many arrived too quickly for the market to absorb.  For the most part, these products are not suffering from poor design;  they are suffering from investor overload and marketing failures.  There will be a day in the future when 1,000 ETFs are not enough.  For now, 800 is proving to be far too many.  There will be further casualties.

Note:  The dubious distinction of being included on the list below is reserved for U.S. listed ETFs and ETNs that have been available for at least six months, and their Average Daily Value Traded (ADVT) for the most recent calendar month was less than $100,000 per day.

ETF Deathwatch January 2009

RankTickerNameAge (mths)Avg Daily VolumeAvg Daily Value Traded
1LISNETS PSI 20 Index (Portugal)741$503
2MZNClaymore/Mrngstr Inform. SuperSector1768$1,007
3UBME-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Ind Met. ETN995$1,100
4IQENETS ISEQ 20 Index (Ireland)7164$1,707
5UCIE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Index ETN9159$2,211
6PTDE-TRACS UBS Short Platinum ETN868$2,734
7GWOElements CS Global Warming ETN9595$2,734
8UBNE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Energy ETN9209$2,810
9JNBNETS FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index (So. Africa)8255$2,964
10SIHSPA MarketGrader 10015259$2,983
11MZOClaymore/Mrngstr Services SuperSector17209$3,043
12ITLNETS S&P/MIB Index (Italy)8305$3,776
13FUEElements MLCX Biofuels ETN11605$3,795
14LSOElements MLCX Livestock ETN9464$3,885
15BDGPowerShares DB Base Metals Lng ETN6336$4,166
16BRUNETS BEL 20 Index (Belgium)8518$5,578
17LDNNETS FTSE 100 Index (London)9414$5,596
18JJUiPath DJ AIG Aluminum ETN6259$6,118
19PWDPowerShares FTSE RAFI Europe Small Mid15655$6,841
20JFTFirst Trust JPM Enh 130/30 Lrg Cap ETN7327$6,949
21UBCE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Livestock ETN9355$7,498
22FRCNETS CAC 40 Index (France)9532$7,597
23INRMarket Vectors Rupee/USD ETN10227$7,903
24JJSiPath DJ AIG Softs ETN6236$8,184
25AUSNETS S&P/ASX 200 Index (Australia)9673$8,356
26FUDE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Food ETN9541$9,818
27BHHHOLDRS B2B Internet ETF10842,705$10,118
28GOEElements MLCX Gold ETN91,145$10,283
29IROClaymore/Zacks Dividend Rotation15777$10,294
30PHWPowerShares Dynamic Hrdwr & Cons Elec371,282$10,786
31RHORydex Inverse 2x S&P Health Care7145$10,881
32USVE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Silver ETN9750$11,075
33GCEClaymore/CEF GS Connect ETN13995$11,091
34EEHElements Spec LgCap US Sector Mo ETN171,895$12,398
35TYINETS TOPIX Index (Japan)9709$13,205
36UBDClaymore U.S. Capital Markets Bond ETF11300$14,294
37PLKPowerShares Active Low Duration9573$14,461
38SNBSPA MarketGrader 200151,295$15,389
39FXRFirst Trust Industrials AlphaDex201,614$15,596
40SZRWisdomTree Dreyfus S. African Rand6764$15,811
41EENClaymore/Robeco Developed Intl Equity221,268$16,480
42IIHHOLDRS Internet Infrastructure1088,595$16,844
43UAGE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Agric. ETN91,036$17,803
44UBGE-TRACS UBS Blmbrg CMCI Gold ETN9800$18,699
45SZGSPA MarketGrader Large Cap 100151,518$18,755
46BJKMarket Vectors Gaming ETF111,145$18,784
47GRUElements MLCX Grains Total Return ETN113,445$19,707
48SGTNETS FTSE Singapore Straits Times Index81,555$20,185
49PEHPowerShares Dynamic Europe Portfolio192,086$20,380
50PMYElements MLCX Precious Metals ETN93,059$20,650
51RTLiShares FTSE NAREIT Retail201,268$20,937
52JJTiPath DJ AIG Tin ETN6859$21,433
53DPCWisdomTree Intl Consumer Cyclical271,441$21,440
54ROBClaymore/Robb Report Global Luxury171,905$21,486
55JEMBarclays GEMS Currency Index ETN9536$22,222
56WMWElements Mrngstr Wide Moat Focus ETN153,627$24,381
57BNZWisdomTree Dreyfus New Zealand Dollar61,291$24,893
58GBBiPath GBP/USD Exchange Rate ETN20636$25,590
59UEMClaymore U.S.-1-The Capital Markets11668$26,542
60XGCClaymore/Great Companies Lg-Cap Growth212,173$26,891
61PQSCPowerShares FTSE Nasdaq Small Cap91,723$26,941
62FXDFirst Trust Cons Discretionary AlphaDex203,032$27,406
63PNQIPowerShares Nasdaq Internet72,191$27,999
64SSKSPA MarketGrader Small Cap 100152,323$28,136
65IFEUiShares FTSE/EPRA NAREIT Europe141,345$28,548
66PEFPowerShares FTSE RAFI Europe191,282$31,637
67FDDFirst Trust DJ STOXX Select Dividend 30163,077$33,013
68STHClaymore/Sabrient Stealth282,614$33,139
69JJNiPath DJ AIG Nickel ETN152,227$34,069
70RTGRydex 2x S&P Technology71,405$35,296
71BALiPath DJ-AIG Cotton ETN61,350$35,850
72PXQPowerShares Dynamic Networking433,527$36,518
73FNXFirst Trust Mid Cap Core AlphaDEX202,205$36,800
74RFVRydex S&P Midcap 400 Pure Value342,114$37,018
75PRFMPowerShares FTSE RAFI Basic Materials281,145$37,249
76DBTWisdomTree Intl Technology272,636$37,794
77SVDSPA MarketGrader Mid Cap 100153,250$38,248
78RTMRydex S&P Equal Weight Materials261,245$38,475
79JOiPath DJ AIG Coffee ETN61,145$39,912
80JJMiPath DJ AIG Industrial Metals ETN141,827$40,110
81CSDClaymore/Clear Spin-Off ETF253,586$40,707
82SGGiPath DJ AIG Sugar ETN61,036$40,908
83FADFirst Trust Multi Cap Growth AlphaDEX202,309$41,102
84EXBClaymore/Clear Global Exchanges & Brokers184,382$41,883
85PRFGPowerShares FTSE RAFI Consumer Goods281,395$43,150
86OTRClaymore/Ocean Tomo Growth212,809$43,917
87FXLFirst Trust Technology AlphaDex204,509$45,250
88DPUDB Commodity Long ETN83,418$46,141
89PQYPowerShares Active AlphaQ93,014$47,237
90DAXNETS DAX Index (Germany)93,191$47,405
91GRNiPath Global Carbon ETN61,673$48,053
92DODElements Dogs of the Dow Total Return ETN148,173$48,643
93JJPiPath DJ AIG Precious Metals ETN61,186$51,068
94MZGClaymore/Mrngstr Manufact. SuperSector173,159$51,117
95PDQPowerShares Asia Pacific ex-Jpn Small-Mid155,132$52,450
96FPXFirst Trust IPOX-100 Index Fund334,186$55,416
97LDiPath DJ AIG Lead ETN62,118$55,611
98BDDPowerShares DB Base Metals Dbl Lg ETN710,973$55,823
99OTPClaymore/Ocean Tomo Patent253,223$56,391
100BDHHOLDRS Broadband ETF1067,168$57,558
101FIOiShares FTSE NAREIT Industrial Office203,632$59,652
102CROClaymore/Zacks Country Rotation184,623$60,036
103PTJPowerShares Dynamic Healthcare Services273,950$62,438
104CZAClaymore/Zacks Mid-Cap Core ETF214,055$63,032
105RHMRydex 2x S&P Health Care71,432$63,290
106SFVSPA MarketGrader 40155,955$63,938
107NFOClaymore/Sabrient Insider283,945$66,038
108QQXTFirst Trust Nasdaq-100 Ex-Technology235,709$66,828
109NUCLiShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy62,405$67,337
110FYXFirst Trust Small Cap Core AlphaDEX204,364$69,483
111FVIFirst Trust Value Line Equity Allocation575,686$70,838
112SNONETS Hang Seng China Enterprises Index84,714$71,129
113PHJPowerShares High Gr. Rate Div Achievers407,695$72,033
114IFNAiShares FTSE NAREIT North America142,968$74,281
115TDNTDAX Independence 2030154,705$75,163
116TDDTDAX Independence 2010153,477$76,315
117FGDFirst Trust DJ Global Select Dividend135,814$78,735
118TDHTDAX Independence 2020154,373$79,906
119USYWisdomTree US Current Income83,227$80,364
120ADZDB Agriculture Short ETN92,145$83,313
121FXGFirst Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDex206,159$83,890
122RZGRydex S&P Smallcap 600 Pure Growth343,218$84,231
123QTECFT Nasdaq 100 Technology337,395$85,095
124RWJRevenueShares Small Cap105,218$85,366
125PVMPowerShares Dynamic Deep Value255,195$85,521
126INYSPDR Lehman New York Muni Bond154,441$85,788
127NIBiPath DJ AIG Cocoa ETN62,186$85,889
128RGIRydex S&P Equal Weight Industrials262,659$89,093
129PRYPowerShares FTSE RAFI Intl Real Estate128,223$91,446
130BWViPath CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index ETN202,614$91,700
131TDXTDAX Independence In-Target153,827$93,262
132RJZElements Rogers Metals ETN1516,845$93,643
133AGFDB Agriculture Long ETN95,923$96,739
134PEJPowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Enter4311,195$97,351
135RWKRevenueShares Mid Cap106,509$97,516
136EEZWisdomTree Earnings Top 100 Fund233,745$98,086
137LVLClaymore/BBD High Income1910,705$98,864
138PGZPowerShares Dyn Aggressive Growth256,155$99,480
139PQBWPowerShares Nasdaq 100 Buy/Write76,336$99,853
© Copyright 2009,


4 Responses to “ETF Deathwatch January 2009”

  1. Edward J. Baca on January 2nd, 2009 6:13 pm

    Appreciate your ETF Death Watch listings. Haven”t owned any yet but your service should keep me from making that mistake, thank you.

  2. Michael on January 7th, 2009 11:22 am

    Great job on this!

    What is the actual impact to investors when an ETF “dies? when an ETN “dies”?

    Are the underlying holdings unwound and the invstors simply paid out their pro-rata –potentially at a loss for longer-term holders given current market conditions?


  3. Ron Rowland on January 7th, 2009 5:09 pm

    The impact to the investor is essentially a forced sale. Most of the closings to date have been pre-announced by about a month, giving investors time to sell in the open market, assuming they got the message. Of course, the holders of the three Lehman-backed ETNs received no such warning.

    If an ETF/ETN you own announces an impending closure, then I recommend you sell it in the open market (use a limit order) and not go through the hassle of being involved in the actual liquidation process.

    Don’t worry too much about current market conditions if forced to sell. If you sell at a loss, then enjoy the potential tax benefits of booking the loss, and then use to proceeds to establish a new position in something that is not on the list.

  4. Dave Balfour on February 3rd, 2009 8:25 am

    Any chance you could list the most highly traded (safest) ETF’s?
    Keep up the good work!

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