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ETF Investing 2019: Best Ideas & Trends

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In this episode of ETF Spotlight, I talk with Todd Rosenbluth, senior director of ETF and mutual fund research at CFRA. We discuss the ETF market outlook and best investing ideas for 2019.

The ETF market continued to grow in 2018 but at a much slower pace compared to the previous year. 2018 was still the second-best year for ETF inflows.

Actively managed mutual funds, on the other hand, experienced outflows. We talk about Todd’s forecast for ETF asset growth in 2019. Will actively managed mutual funds continue to bleed assets?

The four top providers—BlackRock (BLK - Free Report) , Vanguard, State Street (STT) and Invesco (IVZ)—saw decline in inflows. Some relatively smaller providers like JP Morgan (JPM) and Charles Schwab (SCHW) saw healthier inflows.

Who will win the battle for investors’ cash in 2019? Invesco acquired MassMutual's affiliate OppenheimerFunds last year and PowerShares family of ETFs in 2006. Should we expect more consolidation in the industry?

We saw a record number of ETF and ETN closures in 2018. Providers continue to launch innovative products as they struggle to find the next big thing but many new ETFs fail to gain traction.

Further, new ETFs are now getting very specific or niche, focusing on a narrow corner of the market or a very specialized strategy. Some of these niche ETFs, such as the ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF (HACK) and the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (MJ), have been quite successful. But many others just do not make sense.

The fund fee wars continue to escalate. Last year, Fidelity launched four zero-fee index funds. It is being speculated that JP Morgan is about to launch a zero-fee ETF soon.

Will the race to the bottom continue? Will we see a zero-fee ETF this year?

We also talk about Todd’s top ETF picks for 2019—the iShares Edge MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (QUAL) and the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF (VCIT). Find out more on the podcast.

You can follow Todd on Twitter @ToddCFRA and also visit CFRA website to learn more about their research. 

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

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