Daily ETF Watch: ‘BITE’ Targets Restaurants

New ETF hones in on an overlooked space.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

A new ETF that launched today focuses specifically on the restaurant space. The Restaurant ETF (BITE) is the first fund to solely target companies whose primary business is the operation of restaurants.


Companies can be drawn from any market-capitalization segment and are equally weighted within the index, which is reconstituted every six months. The prospectus noted that as of mid-October, the fund’s index had 45 components, with Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (3.08 percent), Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (2.94 percent) and Carrols Restaurant Group Inc. (2.76 percent) representing the heaviest weightings.


BITE comes with an expense ratio of 0.75 percent. That’s 14 basis points more than the fee charged by the $262 million PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage Portfolio (PBJ | B-58). PBJ invests in restaurant stocks but also includes food manufacturers and retailers.


Van Eck Takes On Gold Fund

Van Eck has added a new fund to its lineup, taking over marketing and branding duties from Merk Investments, the firm founded by Axel Merk, for the firm's physical gold fund. The product has been rebranded with the Van Eck brand name, although Merk Investments remains the ETF’s sponsor.


The renamed Van Eck Merk Gold ETF (OUNZ | B) is essentially unchanged. It still has the same ticker and expense ratio (0.40 percent), and most importantly, it still has the unique features that made it the focus of so much talk when it launched.


OUNZ is the only physical gold ETF that allows investors to redeem shares for actual physical gold. With most physical gold ETFs, like the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD | A-100), retail investors can only sell their shares, and only authorized participants can redeem actual gold from the trust.


Despite the hype when it launched in May 2014, OUNZ has only gathered about $80 million in assets under management. That’s a perfectly respectable amount for an ETF, but it’s the smallest amount of assets among the physical gold ETFs.


The deal with Van Eck means that the fund will now be marketed by a firm that has a broad existing ETF lineup, including two very successful gold-related funds—the $5 billion Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX | C-78) and the $1.4 billion Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (GDXJ | C-56).

Contact Heather Bell at [email protected].



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.