Best/Worst Weekly ETF Returns: PALL Rises 11.7%

August 24, 2012

South Africa’s ongoing miner strike pushed precious metals ETFs up sharply in the week ended Thursday, Aug. 23, despite weak price action in the broad stock market.


The ETFS Physical Palladium ETF (NYSEArca: PALL) was the top-performing ETF in the week ended Thursday, Aug. 23, tagging on gains of 11.76 percent and leading a roster of precious metals funds up on supply concerns linked to the ongoing miner strike in South Africa.

The gains came as the Dow Jones industrial average gave up 1.45 percent of value, or more than 192 points, in the five-day period ended Thursday, closing at 13,057.46.

Labor unrest in the world’s largest platinum- and palladium-producing country sparked a sharp rally in the prices for metals such as platinum, palladium, silver and gold that landed platinum prices at a four-month high in the past week. South Africa accounts for roughly three-quarters of the world’s platinum supply.

Lonmin, the No. 3 platinum miner, shut down all of its operations amid a violent clash with workers that left at least 44 people dead so far and has resulted in a lost output that pushed up platinum prices significantly, according to a report on Hard Assets Investors.

Both platinum and palladium are used in auto catalytic converters—the first in diesel engines and the latter in gasoline engines—so the markets tend to move in tandem.

PALL, along with platinum-focused ETRACs CMCI Long Platinum Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: PTM) and the iPath Dow Jones-UBS Platinum Total Return ETN (NYSEArca: PGM) all saw sharp gains in the five-day period.

Several silver funds along with one gold miner ETF were also among the week’s top-performing strategies. The iShares Silver Trust (NYSEArca: SLV) rallied 8.15 percent in the week amid a trading volume that averaged some 14 million shares a day.

Bottom Dwellers

On the flip side, the Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (NYSEArca: VNM) was the worst-performing fund in the Thursday-to-Thursday period, bleeding nearly 9.8 percent as investors grew jittery over Vietnam’s economic prospects.

Vietnam was until not too long ago a booming center of economic growth in Asia, but the arrest this week of its prominent banking tycoon Nguyen Duc Kien, on what are still “vague” business-related charges, fueled concerns that more arrests in the financial segment could be looming, the latest tidbit to point to the country’s growing economic troubles.

Vietnam’s equities market plunged to its steepest decline in four years in the past week, raising concerns that the country could be on track to relive the economic meltdown seen in Thailand in 1997.

Still, VNM was retracing some of its losses in Friday’s session. IndexUniverse’s weekly data looks at a Thursday-to-Thursday window.

Aside from VNM, a couple of energy funds were found among the week’s bottom performers, such as the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (NYSEArca: XOP), which lost 3.45 percent of its value.

XOP is a modified equal-weight hedging fund that invests in oil & gas exploration names such as Tesoro Corp., McMoRan Exploration and Valero Energy Corp.

Interestingly, short-sellers have been upping their bets against XOP, most recently in July, with short positions relative to the outstanding long float on XOP rising 3 percent in July from June, according to IndexUniverse’s latest Short Report.

Shorts on XOP equated at the end of July to 222 percent—or some $1.7 billion—of all outstanding long interest in the $820 million fund. Still, the ETF is down only 0.4 percent year-to-date.



Top 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
PALL ETFS Physical Palladium 11.76% 919,956 511.82
SLVP iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners 9.75% 9,295 2.10
JJT iPath Dow Jones-UBS Tin Total Return ETN 9.46% 6,951 7.74
DBS PowerShares DB Silver 8.42% 124,482 63.19
SIVR ETFS Physical Silver 8.19% 1,527,914 534.71
SLV iShares Silver Trust 8.15% 72,121,806 9,525.00
PTM ETRACS CMCI Long Platinum Total Return ETN 8.08% 224,740 35.60
WITE ETFS Physical WM Basket 8.04% 17,276 37.73
PGM iPath Dow Jones-UBS Platinum Total Return ETN 7.83% 46,376 31.13
EU WisdomTree Euro Debt 7.75% 132,933 4.31

Bottom 10 Weekly Performers, Excluding Leverage/Inverse Funds and <1,000 Shares Traded

Ticker Name Weekly Performance Weekly Volume AUM ($, mm)
VNM Market Vectors Vietnam -9.78% 1,137,827 275.44
RRF WisdomTree Global Real Return -7.82% 1,149 4.86
CVOL C-Tracks Exchange-Traded Notes on the Citi Volatility -6.64% 200,250 6.01
BTAH QuantShares U.S. Market Neutral Beta -6.13% 1,240 3.64
CHEP QuantShares U.S. Market Neutral Value -5.39% 5,500 7.25
FCG First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas -3.97% 1,438,511 440.59
BRXX EGShares Brazil Infrastructure -3.45% 152,794 73.60
XOP SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production -3.45% 18,825,295 917.18
BRAZ Global X Brazil Mid Cap -3.44% 60,530 20.87
PSI PowerShares Dynamic Semiconductors -3.31% 13,242 18.61

Disclaimer: All data as of 6 a.m. Eastern time the date the article is published. Data is believed to be accurate; however, transient market data is often subject to subsequent revision and correction by the exchanges.

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