Increased tensions in Eastern Europe sent U.S. stocks tumbling Friday with the Nasdaq the worst offender among the major U.S. indices with a loss of nearly 2%.
For the week the S&P 500 closed modestly lower. With the U.S. and Western allies threatening additional sanctions against Russia as a result of its actions in Ukraine, several of this week’s most searched ETFs on ETF Trends are familiar faces, but there are some new additions as well.
Not surprisingly, the most searched ETF on the site this week was the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX). The largest Russia ETF slid 3% on heavy volume Friday to its lowest level in five weeks after Standard & Poor’s lowered its rating on Russian sovereign debt to BBB-, the lowest investment grade. [Russia ETFs Slide After S&P Downgrade]
On a related note, the Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSL) was by the most searched leveraged ETF this week while the iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ERUS) also occupied a spot in the top-15.
The Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF (NasdaqGM: VWOB) has a 12% weight to Russia, the ETF’s largest country weight and enough to make it the most searched bond fund this week. To VWOB’s credit, it closed down by just 0.17% Friday. [Russia-Heavy Bond ETFs]
The situation in Ukraine sparked increased searches of safe-haven ideas, lifting the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) to the top spot among searched commodities ETFs.
A new entrant to this week’s list that jibes with the theme of playing defense with value stocks is the Guggenheim Defensive Equity Index ETF (NYSEArca: DEF). DEF’s beta is just 0.56 with a standard deviation of 8.84%, which is nearly 330 basis points below the S&P 500. In its first appearance on this list, DEF was the sixth-most searched ETF on the site this week. [Defensive ETF Rallies]
The Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE) is this year’s second-best of the nine sector SPDR ETFs and the top asset-gathering ETF of any stripe with 2014 inflows north of $2.7 billion. Now back to being the third-largest of the nine sector SPDRs, XLE has not made many appearances on this list, but that changed in a big way this week with the fund taking the second spot. [Energy ETFs Raking in Piles of Cash]