Blog

ETF Data Made Easy(er)

March 19, 2010
Share:

While there’s no one-stop-shop for all your ETF data needs, there are some good resources out there. Here are a few I use.

Matt’s post on charting prompted some good internal debate about where we all get our data fix. While I’d love to say there’s one magical Web site that does it all (like, say, IndexUniverse.com) the reality is we’re all good at our own things. Here’s what I look at when I’m evaluating ETFs:

Bloomberg

Not everyone can afford $1,900 a month for a Bloomberg terminal, but in the words of Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” Learning how to efficiently use the thing is a bit like learning how to drive an aircraft carrier using Braille, though. Even if you’re not willing to pay the big money, the Bloomberg newsroom does a good job on their free Web site (and related iPhone app) of covering core economic, investor and commodity news, and it’s a regular stop on my daily rounds when I’m away from the big black screens.

Yahoo Finance

When it comes to running my own numbers, I’ve found Yahoo Finance to be the most data-geek friendly, for one major reason—you can download an adjusted price series since inception for every ETF. “Adjusted” means adjusted for dividends, which means you can do your own analysis while avoiding the pitfalls Matt highlighted on Wednesday. I’m not impressed by the various other ETF data they provide (holdings, etc.), as my experience is that the data quality is spotty.

StockCharts.com

There’s nothing ETF-specific at StockCharts, but they do make some pretty charts. Here’s the smallest, simplest version of their flagship “SharpChart.”

 

SharpChart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I agree with Matt on most of what he wrote about technical analysis, I also subscribe to the voodoo principle here—it actually does work when enough people believe it will. If, for example, everyone believed you should sell gold if it drops below its 50-day moving average (I just made that up), then of course gold would plummet after it broke that blue line, because everyone would be selling.

So while I’m not a believer in the sense that I think technical analysis solves all your problems, I do think TA can help us understand investor psychology and market dynamics. StockCharts tools are among the best out there for the technically minded. I used to recommend ClearStation.com, but I think the simplicity of StockCharts wins out.

FutureSource

The world isn’t ETFs. Most things are pretty easy to find, but good commodities charts can be a bear. FutureSource, part of the massive Quote.com empire, has the easiest-to-manipulate charts for the futures markets. They don’t have the customization a real futures trading platform does (letting you do things like pick your rolling dates), but they’re the best I’ve found for free.

AssetCorrelation

Understanding how well your ETFs really diversify your portfolio is critical to making informed investing decisions. AssetCorrelation.com lets you build custom correlation matrices in seconds, and even more fun, lets you run custom correlation-over-time studies to show you how, say, gold and oil have become better and better friends this year. The data source is, I believe, Yahoo Finance, so don’t expect access to every index in the world; but for ETFs, it’s tremendous.

 

ETF.COM CHANNELS

Want to learn more about smart-beta ETFs? Check out our smart-beta guide, essentials library and ETF screener!

ETF DAILY DATA

Core U.S. equity ETF 'VUSE' saw its total AUM jump nearly 30 percent Wednesday, July 29. Investors poured fresh assets into U.S. equity and bond funds alike on the day, bringing total U.S.-listed ETF assets to $2.141 trillion.

'IWM' and a handful of other iShares ETFs paced the firm's issuer-leading asset gains on Wednesday, July 29, as total U.S.-listed ETF assets rose to $2.141 trillion.

ETF.COM ANALYST BLOGS

By Matt Hougan

The median ETF tracks its index perfectly excluding expenses. But different firms and funds perform quite differently.

By Paul Britt

Toss and turn about whether to hedge currency risk, but don’t lose sleep over the derivatives themselves.

By Dave Nadig

With the China A-share market half-broken, ETF investors should be very, very cautious.

By Drew Voros

Price depreciation and continued outflows have made for a tough few years.

ETF INDUSTRY PERSPECTIVE

By Invesco PowerShares

A more in-depth look at the smart-beta survey's results.

By Invesco PowerShares

Smart beta appears to be poised for further growth.