Issuers big and small continue to fill the development pipeline and with the total product lineup approaching the 1,500 mark, ETF investors are sure to have choices when it comes to shopping around. The ETF Database makes it easy for prospective buyers to slice-and-dice the exchange-traded universe whichever way they want; the ETF Screener allows you to quickly and easily filter down the list of products by dozens of descriptive criteria like asset class, region and sector. Our newest addition, the ETF Analyzer, is by far the most flexible tool available; this resource allows investors to compare a variety of potential investments on a number of criteria, including everything from performance and dividend yield to total holdings and volatility [see also How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
For many, the research process prior to buying involves looking at the top ETFs by asset or the most popular funds by volume. Although this approach may be appropriate in some scenarios, it’s prudent to take a good look under the hood of some lesser-known ETFs as they may offer attractive opportunities. As such, below we take a look at four exchange-traded products flying under the radar for most investors; each of the instruments profiled has posted stellar year-to-date returns (as of August 16, 2012) while at the same time boasting under $100 million in total assets under management.4. Van Eck Egypt Index ETF (EGPT): +41%
After falling prey to rampant volatility last year, Egypt’s equity market has bounced back with full force. EGPT has only $46 million in assets under management although its impressive run-up on the year is a perfect example of how often the most successful trades are the ones least talked about. This ETF is tilted towards mid and small-cap size stocks, with the biggest allocations going to communication services and financial services from a sector breakdown perspective [see also Africa-Centric ETFdb Portfolio].3. Barclays iPath Pure Beta Grains ETN (WEET): +28%
Agricultural commodities across the board have spiked big time in recent months as uncharacteristically warm weather has led to drought condition throughout some of the most important growing regions at home. Tightening supply conditions have likewise translated into hefty profits for commodity investors, especially those with extensive exposure to the grains family. With close to $3 million in assets under management, WEET is flying under the radar for most. The underlying basket of commodity futures is tilted towards soybeans and corn, although adequate exposure to wheat, soybean oil. and soybean meal is also included. [see also Panic, Drought, Massive Gains For The Grains].2. Guggenheim China Real Estate ETF (TAO): +27%
Although economic growth has cooled off in China, the nation’s real estate sector continues to thrive on favorable demographic trends and increasing rates of urbanization. TAO has $20 million in assets under management and holds 45 securities in total with a tilt towards mid-cap size companies. From a geographic perspective, this ETF is split 75/25 between Hong Kong and China stocks respectively.1. UBS E-TRACS Linked To Wells Fargo Business Development Company Index (BDCS): +25%
Having launched in mid-2011 and with $20 million in assets under management, BDCS is undoubtedly one of the lesser-known offerings in the Financials Equities ETFdb Category. This ETN offers exposure to 26 business development companies that are involved in lending money to small and mid-sized companies, bearing a close resemblance to private equity firms. According to its fact sheet, BDCS boasts a hefty 7.6% annual dividend, with top allocations going to firms like Ares Capital, Apollo Investment and BlackRock Kelso Capital [see also Monthly Dividend ETFdb Portfolio].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.