Some ETF Second Acts are Worth Viewing

Some investors that have been following the exchange traded funds business for a while are familiar with the term “me too ETF.” That is an ETF from one issuer that is younger than but bears a striking resemblance to another issuer’s product.

Not to be confused with me too ETFs are ETF sequels, or the scenario where a fund sponsor looks to capitalize on a concept that has proven successful with a similar but still noticeably different fund. Insert witty movie sequel evaluations here, but the fact is some ETF sequels have proven popular while others have struggled to gain traction.

A prime example of a successful ETF is the SPDR Barclays Short Term High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SJNK), the follow up to the SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (NYSEArca: JNK), the second-largest high-yield bond ETF. [Investors Flock to Junk Bond ETFs]

“SJNK, like the original, holds junk bonds, just with shorter maturities. That gives it about half the interest rate risk as JNK. Does that mean its return and yield take a similar cut? Nope. SJNK has returned 16 percent since its March 2012 inception, compared to 18 percent for JNK. It yields 5.2 percent, a smidgen less than the original. That explains why investors plowed $2.5 billion into SJNK last year — the same amount they took out of JNK,” reports Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg.

SJNK has proven to be such a successful sequel to JNK that State Street recently added a global junk play, the SPDR Barclays International High Yield Bond ETF (NYSE: IJNK). [New Global Junk Bond ETF Debuts]

There is an impressive sequel in the mining arena: The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDXJ), the follow up to the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX), the largest mining ETF. GDXJ has plenty of fans of its own.

“In two months this year, GDXJ, which was launched in 2009, doubled in size to $2 billion. That was thanks to strong inflows — it took in $570 million to GDX’s $450 million for the year so far — and the surprise rally in gold-mining stocks,” writes Balchunas. [Mining ETFs Finally Beating Bullion]