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Trump's Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Will Impact Crude Oil Spreads, Boost Canadian Economy
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 16:21:50 +0000   

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed a permit to allow the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Fuel price-tracker GasBuddy has been tracking the Keystone controversy for the last several years.

“While the impact on gasoline prices may not be immediately known or felt, the pipeline will allow more U.S. refiners to process Canadian crude oil and reduce reliance on foreign supply, while helping Canadians secure their energy future,” GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan wrote Friday.

Could Keystone Help...Canada?

According to DeHaan, the Keystone pipeline may ultimately eliminate much of the discount ...

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iShares Adds Developed Markets ETF To Core Suite
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 15:12:50 +0000   

The iShares lineup of core exchange-traded funds, which are aimed at cost-conscious, long-term investors, grew by one earlier this week with the debut of the iShares Core MSCI International Developed Markets ETF (NYSE: IDEV).

IDEV tracks the MSCI WORLD ex USA IMI Index. The new ETF is off to a fast start. IDEV's homepage shows an inception date of March 21 and over $30.2 million in assets under management, which would easily make IDEV one of the most successful ETFs to debut to this point in 2017.

There is already an ex-U.S. developed markets solution in the iShares core suite. The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSE: ...

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Reasons To Remain With Real Estate ETFs
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 14:08:42 +0000   

The iShares Dow Jones US Real Estate (ETF) (NYSE: IYR) and other exchange-traded funds holding real estate investment trusts (REITs) deserve some credit. Often viewed as highly sensitive to rising interest rate, some REITs have actually moved higher following last week's interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

For example, IYR is up almost 1 percent over the past week. With many investors expecting the Federal Reserve to boost interest rates multiple times this year, there has been plenty of chatter regarding rate-sensitive equity sectors.

Rate-Sensitive Equity Sectors

That conversation often includes consumer staples names and almost certainly includes utilities, the sector most inversely correlated to rising Treasury yields. ...

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The Customer Is Always Right: This ETF Is Tailored To Customer Satisfaction
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:44:56 +0000   

The difference between a customer and a consumer could seem arbitrary on the surface. But to Phil Bak, the CEO of America Customer Sentiment (ACSI) Funds, the distinction is vital.

"A consumer can have an opinion, but a customer is actually spending their dollars," Bak said.

Bak was a guest on Benzinga's PreMarket Prep morning show, where he discussed how tracking customer satisfaction plays a key role in anticipating the positive performance of bullish retail stocks — and how the American Customer Satisfaction Core Alpha ETF (BATS: ACSI) is able to capitalize on that data for companies like Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST), Dollar Tree, Inc. (NASDAQ: DLTR) and, of course,, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).

Amazon Is A Beast

Any discussion of retail success is bound to include Amazon. Bak recognized this; his ACSI Fund is overweight on the company.

He said there's a strong correlation between Amazon's success and the way customers feel about the online retailer, which could be a fundamental driver behind the stock's continued upside.

"Amazon is a beast. Amazon is the No. 1 customer satisfaction company and everyone knows,” Bak explained. “You’re not making some big, huge leap to say you’re bullish on Amazon. But right now, Amazon did — I believe — 31 percent of the entire online retail market in the holiday season, and it’s just grown."

While Amazon's dominance is no shocker, Bak suggested the experience of shopping online with Amazon is, for better and worse, fundamentally different than the customer experience with other retailers or service sectors.

Bak explained how stocks surveyed by ACSI Fund are ...

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How To Access Junk Bonds As Rates Rise
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:25:02 +0000   

High-yield corporate bonds are often of as vulnerable to rising interest rates, but some exchange-traded funds can help investors maintain junk bond exposure in the face of higher U.S. borrowing costs.

The WisdomTree Interest Rate Hedged High Yield Bond Fund (NYSE: HYZD) can help investors mitigate interest rate risk while providing a source of income even as interest rates move higher. HYZD, which debuted in late 2013, provides an alternative to the traditional ways fixed income investors look to hedge interest rate risk.

Honing Into HYZD's Strengths

“All else being equal, investors typically reduce interest rate risk (as measured by duration) in three simple ways: reduce maturity, swap fixed coupon bonds for floating ...

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Dan Deming's SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust Trade
Fri, 24 Mar 2017 11:01:25 +0000   

Speaking on Bloomberg Markets, Dan Deming of KKM Financial suggested that investors should consider buying protection in the current market environment.

He is watching the CBOE skew index, which measures the demand for downside puts versus upside calls and ...

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Hartford Expands ETF Lineup With 2 New Bond Funds
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:45:41 +0000   

Hartford Funds, the fund-issuing arm of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG), expanded its exchange-traded funds lineup Wednesday with the launches of two actively managed fixed income funds.

2 New Bond ETFs

The new ETFs are the Hartford Quality Bond ETF (NYSE: HQBD) and the Hartford Corporate Bond ETF (NYSE: HCOR). Both are sub-advised by Wellington Management Company LLP.

“Hartford Quality Bond ETF seeks to maximize total return while providing a high level of current income consistent with prudent investment risk,” said Hartford Funds in a statement. “The ...

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Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF Finds Resistance And Retreats
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:12:25 +0000   

Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX) shares are trading lower by $0.36 (1.6 percent) at $22.89 in Thursday's session. For the third day in a row, it has found resistance at the ...

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Buyback ETF Steady As Repurchases Decline
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:20:55 +0000   

Share repurchases by S&P 500 member firms were solid last year, but declined from the totals seen in each of the previous two years. Still, the PowerShares BuyBack Achievers Fund (ETF) (NYSE: PKW) returned 12.9 percent in 2016, topping the S&P 500 by 90 basis points.

Q4 Buybacks

Buybacks by S&P 500 companies “totaled $135.3 billion for Q4 2016. This is a 20.6 percent increase from the $112.2 billion reported for Q3 2016, but a 7.3 percent decrease from the $145.9 billion reported for Q4 2015,” said S&P Dow Jones Indices in a note out Wednesday. “For full-year 2016, S&P 500 issues spent $536.4 billion on buybacks, down 6.3 percent from $572.2 billion for 2015 and down 3.1 percent from $553.3 billion for 2014; the 12-month high is $589.4 billion, which was set during ...

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Feel The Squeeze With The New Short Squeeze ETF
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:27:17 +0000   

New exchange-traded funds are addressing increasingly focused, refined and perhaps niche investing concepts. The Active Alts Contrarian ETF (NASDAQ: SQZZ) certainly addresses a focused corner of the trading universe.

SQZZ, which debuted Wednesday, is the first ETF to focus on stocks in which traders have amassed large bearish positions, which can in turn result in those stocks being subject to short squeezes. The new ETF is managed by Brad Lamensdorf, who also manages the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF (NYSE: HDGE).

Introducing NASDAQ's New Squeeze

SQZZ “seeks capital appreciation by investing in companies with solid fundamentals that have very large short positions and are subject to a short squeeze. Also, as a secondary investment strategy, Lamensdorf ...

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Mike Khouw Sees Unusual Options Activity In The Construction ETF
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 10:38:49 +0000   

On CNBC's Options Action, Mike Khouw said call options volume in iShares Dow Jones US Home Const. (ETF) (NYSE: ITB) on Wednesday was 6 times higher than its ...

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Scott Bauer's Healthcare ETF Trade
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:25:15 +0000   

Scott Bauer of Trading Advantage suggested on Bloomberg Markets that traders should consider a bullish options strategy in Health Care SPDR (ETF) (NYSE: XLV).

He believes that ...

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Investors Renew Enthusiasm For Emerging Market Bond ETFs
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:29:58 +0000   

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in 2017 last week and expectations are in place for a couple of more rate hikes before the end of this year.

In theory, the specter of higher U.S. interest rates should dampen investors' enthusiasm for rate-sensitive, income-generating assets such as emerging markets debt. Reality is showing a different trend, as investors are putting money to work with exchange traded funds such as the iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (NYSE: EMB).

“Emerging market bonds have regained favor with investors in 2017 and are on track to register the second largest quarterly inflow on record,” said Markit in a recent note. “The closing three months of last year had seen investors’ faith ...

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Bullish Set Up Still In Place, But Caution Still Warranted
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 15:51:09 +0000   

The following was originally published on March 18 for members of

Last weekend (Mar 11), I noted that we needed to stay over 21.60 on Monday and complete 5 waves up to give us a bullish set up going into the Fed announcement. On Monday, the market gave us our 5 waves up off the prior week’s low, and on Tuesday, we saw a deep retracement of that initial upside structure, which certainly scared many people in the complex.

The morning of the Fed day on Wednesday Mar 15, I sent out a “Pre-Fed Warning:”

“. . . please focus on the simplicity of where we are. Micro support is 21.20, with support below that at last week's pre-market low of just below 21. As long as we hold those supports, we have a set up in place to break out.”

As we know, the market broke out rather strongly after the Fed’s announcement. But, please do not make the mistake of viewing the announcement as the “cause” of the rally. Remember, sentiment was set up to take us up no matter what the Fed said. And, the fact that we went up even though most believed that a rate hike was certainly going to cause the dollar to rally and the metals to drop provided us with another example of how sentiment trumps all supposed market forces.

But, just because we broke out, and confirmed our prior bottoming structure, does not mean that we are completely out of the woods just yet. It is still possible that the market may rally higher in a corrective manner, which can still suggest that a test of the 19.90 region is possible ...

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A More Favorable Regulatory Environment For Telecom ETFs
Wed, 22 Mar 2017 13:26:52 +0000   

The first quarter of 2017 hasn't been kind to the telecom sector and the related exchange traded funds. Between investors favoring higher beta, cyclical sectors and the bond-like traits of telecom stocks, a disadvantage against the backdrop of rising U.S. interest rates, the sector is scuffling.

The iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (NYSE: IYZ) is lower by 3.6 percent year-to-date, while the Fidelity MSCI Telecommunications Services ETF (NYSE: FCOM) is off 2.3 percent. If there's good news looming for these ETFs and the broader telecom space, it's the possibility of a more favorable regulatory environment.

“The regulatory environment for US telecommunications and cable companies under the new administration is likely to lead to less regulation and ...

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