By Christine Idzelis
Happy Thursday! I’ll be covering exchange-traded funds for our weekly ETF Wrap now that Mark DeCambre is leading MarketWatch as editor in chief.
Against the backdrop of Russia’s ongoing attack on Ukraine and the beginning of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike cycle, the top performer over the past week is the U.S. Oil Fund LP /zigman2/quotes/203483736/composite USO -1.23% , according to FactSet data. Meanwhile, trading of Russia-focused ETFs remained halted even though the Russian stock market partially reopened Thursday.
Two ETFs at Cathie Wood’s ARK Investment Management, an asset manager known for investing in companies with disruptive technologies, also ranked among the top 5 performers, though they remain deeply in the red this year.
Elsewhere on the tech ETF front, we spoke with Scott Helfstein, executive director of thematic investing at ProShares, about the firm’s new Metaverse ETF. And we caught up with Matthew Bartolini, head of SPDR Americas Research at State Street Global Advisors, on what he’s seeing in ETF fund flows in the U.S.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues to reverberate through the exchange-traded fund industry, with U.S. Oil Fund LP /zigman2/quotes/203483736/composite USO -1.23% standing out as the top performer over the past week amid a rise in crude prices. But Russia-focused ETFs remained entangled in the ramifications of the war as the Russian stock market partially reopened Thursday after closing at the end of February .
Related to the iShares MSCI Russia ETF, “it’s unclear whether – and when – Russia will be allowing foreign investors to sell Russia securities,” a BlackRock spokesperson said Thursday in an email to MarketWatch. NYSE halted trading of the ETF and “the suspension is still in place,” the spokesperson said.
Trading of the iShares MSCI Russia ETF, VanEck Russia ETF, VanEck Russia Small-Cap ETF and Franklin FTSE Russia ETF was halted March 4 due to regulatory concerns, according to NYSE’s website. VanEck’s Russia ETFs are listed on the Cboe BZX exchange, while the iShares MSCI Russia ETF and Franklin FTSE Russia ETF trade on the NYSE Arca, the website shows.
A NYSE spokesperson declined to comment. A Cboe spokesperson declined to comment on the trading halt of VanEck’s Russia-focused ETFs, while VanEck declined to comment through a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Oil Fund, which holds predominantly short-term NYMEX futures contracts on WTI crude oil, was the top performer over the past week, according to FactSet data. West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery settled 5.2% higher on Wednesday at $114.93 a barrel.
|United States Oil Fund LP /zigman2/quotes/203483736/composite USO||15.1|
|North Shore Global Uranium Mining ETF /zigman2/quotes/215396693/composite URNM||14.1|
|ARK Next Generation Internet ETF /zigman2/quotes/201846852/composite ARKW||12.2|
|ARK Fintech Innovation ETF /zigman2/quotes/205650811/composite ARKF||12.1|
|Wisdom Tree Cloud Computing Funding /zigman2/quotes/214057201/composite WCLD||11.8|
|Source: FactSet, through Wednesday, March 23, excluding ETNs and leveraged products. Includes NYSE, Nasdaq and Cboe traded ETFs of $500 million or greater|
|Vanguard Extended Duration ETF /zigman2/quotes/205711909/composite EDV||-3.8|
|Invesco Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt ETF /zigman2/quotes/208792589/composite PCY||-3.2|
|iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF /zigman2/quotes/206026314/composite TLT||-3.1|
|SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF /zigman2/quotes/209443811/composite SPTL||-3.0|
|Vanguard Long-Term Treasury ETF /zigman2/quotes/201457689/composite VGLT||-3.0|
|Source: FactSet data|
U.S. Oil Fund’s gains so far in 2022 are massive, with shares of the exchange-traded product surging nearly 51% this year through Wednesday, FactSet data show.
While the U.S. stock market has been choppy and broadly remains mired in a slump so far in 2022, the energy sector has soared, with higher oil prices stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war helping to fuel its rise. Shares of the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF /zigman2/quotes/203527521/composite XOP -2.00% have gained more than 36% this year through Wednesday, according to FactSet data.
Matthew Bartolini, head of SPDR Americas Research at State Street Global Advisors, said by phone that he’s seen inflows into U.S. sustainable environment ETFs rise so far this month to around $741 million, which is “slightly above” the average $640 million in monthly inflows seen over the past year.
He said the war in Ukraine and concerns surrounding Russian oil and gas may have helped drive some portion of asset flows into the sustainable ETFS. Also, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday gave a nod to preliminary approval of long-anticipated regulation on climate-change disclosures for publicly-traded companies, which Bartolini said may have influenced the sentiment of some investors, as well.