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Top ETF Stories of 2020 & Picks for 2021

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  • (1:00) - Record Growth For ETF Assets
  • (7:20) - What Were The Top Performers Of 2020
  • (14:05) - Will We Get A Bitcoin ETF In 2021?
  • (17:50) - ARK Invest ETFs Best Performers
  • (22:50) - Active Non-Transparent and ESG ETFs
  • (30:10) - New ETF Launches and Closures
  • (36:00) - Top Picks For 2021
  • (39:30) - Episode Roundup:

In this episode of ETF Spotlight, I speak with Eric Balchunas, Senior ETF Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. We discuss the top ETF stories of 2020 and the outlook for 2021.

2020 is turning out to be another banner year for ETF asset gathering, with year-to-date inflows exceeding $500 billion, while a similar amount has flown out of mutual funds. Many investors now prefer ETFs since they are more tax-efficient and usually cheaper than mutual funds.

Solar and clean energy ETFs surged again this year after a spectacular performance last year. The Invesco Solar ETF (TAN - Free Report) is the best performing ETF of 2020, with a gain of almost 180%. Other top performing ETF areas include internet, e-commerce and cloud computing, which benefitted from trends accelerated by the pandemic.

Several ETF providers have filed for bitcoin and other crypto ETFs over the past few years but all those applications have been rejected by the SEC. While Square (SQ - Free Report) and PayPal (PYPL - Free Report) have made it easy to buy and sell bitcoin, investors who want cryptocurrencies in their brokerage accounts have to rely on (GBTC - Free Report) by Grayscale or the new Bitwise 10 Crypto Index fund BITW. However, both these products usually trade at a substantial premium to their NAVs. Will we see a bitcoin ETF in 2021?

Three ARK ETFs—ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG - Free Report) , ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK - Free Report) and ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW - Free Report) —are among the top 10 best performing ETFs this year. Cathie Wood has been a long-time bull on Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) , which is the top holding in ARKK and ARKW. As a result, ARK Investment Management is one of the top asset gainers of 2020. What lies ahead?

This has been a record year for ETF launches and closures too. Eric likes the Invesco NASDAQ Next Gen 100 ETF (QQQJ - Free Report) among the best new ETFs of 2020.

And what should investors watch for in 2021? Eric’s picks are: Dimensional US Core Equity Market ETF (DFAU - Free Report) , Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI - Free Report) and AdvisorShares Pure US Cannabis ETF(MSOS - Free Report) . Tune into the podcast to learn more.

Make sure to be on the lookout for the next edition of the ETF Spotlight and remember to subscribe! If you have any comments or questions, please email

(In full disclosure, Neena owns shares of QQQJ in the ETF Investor Portfolio.)

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