Daily ETF Watch: $7T Linked To S&P 500

S&P DJI recently published its annual survey of indexed assets tied to its benchmarks.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

S&P DJI recently published its annual survey of indexed assets tied to its benchmarks.

S&P Dow Jones Indices recently announced the results of its annual survey of assets tied to its indexes.

The index provider noted that more than $7 trillion was benchmarked against its flagship S&P 500 Index as of Dec. 31, 2013. The majority of that is managed assets that simply compare their performance against that of the S&P 500, but roughly $1.9 trillion of that is indexed assets that actually track the well-known index, up 20 percent from the prior year, according to an S&P DJI communique.

Nearly $282 billion of those indexed assets are invested in ETFs, the survey said. The world’s largest ETF, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY | A-98), with more than $174 billion in assets at the end of 2013, represented nearly 62 percent of those ETF assets, according to ETF.com.

In all, S&P DJI said that $2.58 trillion was indexed to its entire offering of indexes, up 30 percent from the prior year.

Direxion Funds Changing Tickers
Effective today, two ETFs issued by Direxion begin trading under new tickers, according to an NYSE communique.

The Direxion Daily Gold Bull 3X Shares (GLDL) now trades under the ticker “BAR,” while the Direxion Daily Gold Bear 3X Shares (GLDS) now trades under the ticker “BARS.”

Direxion said through a spokesperson that it felt the new tickers “more accurately reflect the product.”

Certainly with four other gold-focused ETFs trading under tickers that begin with the letters “GLD”—including the world’s largest physical gold ETF, the $33 billion SPDR Gold Shares (GLD | A-100)—the change will leave less room for confusion among investors.

The Direxion funds have accumulated less than $4 million apiece since their April rollout, suggesting the differentiation provided by the ticker change could only help to raise their profile.

BAR and BARS are both tied to the Gold Benchmark Futures Contract, which, according to the funds’ prospectus, represents the price of a front-month contract on 100 troy ounces of gold.


Heather Bell is a former managing editor of etf.com. She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.