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Barron’s 400 ETF Off to a Solid Start


While not a record pace, this year has been a brisk one on the new ETF launch front and that includes the summer months. Even August, typically a time when many market participants take their final summer vacations, has seen a raft of new ETFs come to market.

One of this summer’s new ETFs that is already off to a solid start is the Barron’s 400 ETF (BFOR), which debuted on June 4. That launch date came just after tapering chatter ramped up, a scenario that proved ominous for a plethora of established ETFs, let alone new products. [Which Income ETFs are Handling Taper Time Pressure?]

However, the Barron’s 400 ETF navigated a tricky, tapering talk-filled market environment with aplomb. BFOR is up just over 6% since coming to market, about twice the gain offered by the S&P 500 over the same time.

BFOR tracks the Barron’s 400 Index, which selects companies based on the strength of their fundamentals in growth, value, profitability and cash flow. Potential components are also screened for criteria including minimum market capitalization and liquidity. The fund charges 0.65% per year. [New ETF Focuses on Barron's Favorite Stocks]

Index constituents are selected “on the basis of their fundamental strength, as measured by 24 fundamental indicators across Growth, Value, Profitability and Cash Flow, as analyzed by MarketGrader.com,” according to issuer data. Additionally, BFOR is an equal-weight ETF, indicating the fund capitalizes on two increasingly popular trends in the ETF industry: Equal-weight and fundamentally-weighted indexing.

Earlier this month, Charles Schwab said alternative weighted ETFs accounted for a robust 29% of inflows over the past year, attracting 39% of retail trader flows, 31% of RIA clients and 25% of retail investors while adding that in the second quarter, alternative weighted ETFs brought in 48% of inflows year-over-year. [Schwab: Alternative Index ETFs Attractive Heavy Inflows]

Familiar names on BFOR’s roster include Apple (AAPL), American Express (AXP), Celgene (CELG), Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Google (GOOG).

The Barron’s 400 Index was introduced by the venerable financial news magazine on the cover of its September 3, 2007 issue. It appears weekly in the magazine’s The Trader column and is rebalanced semi-annually, in March and September, said ALPS, BFOR’s distributor, in a statement on the fund’s launch data.

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of Apple, American Express and Google.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.