Gold ETF beats it all …Again(October Review)

A Review of performance of GOLD ETF based on earlier post Gold ETF beats it all

Gold Exchange Traded funds have performed exceptionally well since their inception in India. One of the primary reasons attributed to it could be inherent bias of Indians towards gold as a precious metal. However, recently Gold is receiving a fair share for investment purposes as well. In times of economic and financial turmoil it is a safe heaven for many.

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Gold EFT’s which are primarily traded on NSE (see codes) have outperformed many local and International equity indices(BSE, NIFTY, Dow Jones, Nikkei, Hang Seng).
At a time when equities valuations around the world were getting beaten down Gold ETF has provided investors promising returns of more than 15%. Comparing this returns to double digit negative returns of equity indices, surely makes a case for many investors to diversify their existing portfolios and include any of the available Gold ETF’s (BeEs, Kotak, Quantum, Reliance, and UTI)

Listed below is a comparison of returns of Gold ETF with various indices around the world. The NAV for 29-Oct-2008 is considered for comparison. Some data is proportionately adjusted for comparative study.

Scheme Name 1 mth % 3 mths % 6 mths % 1 yr % 3 yrs % NAV Category Structure
UTI Gold ETF (10.52) (8.45) 1.19 16.39 NA 1164.88 ETF Open Ended
Gold BeES (10.51) (8.46) 1.18 16.32 NA 1162.31 ETF Open Ended
Kotak Gold ETF (10.52) (8.44) 1.15 16.29 NA 1165.41 ETF Open Ended
Quantum Gold Fund – Growth (10.51) (8.35) 1.31 NA NA 580.25 ETF Open Ended
Reliance Gold ETF – Dividend (11.07) (9.48) (0.01) NA NA 1136.79 ETF Open Ended
Average performance of similar category funds (10.63) (8.64) 0.96 16.33 NA 1041.93
S&P Nifty (32.64) (38.03) (47.25) (52.63) 5.04
BSE Sensex (31.25) (37.22) (47.06) (52.90) 5.43
Nasdaq (7.32) (5.95) 0.78 (12.73) 1.18
FTSE (2.13) (6.46) (6.23) (14.07) 0.26
Dow Jones (1.89) (5.93) (5.68) (14.03) 2.25
Strait Times (8.74) (14.88) (11.90) (26.62) 3.40
KLSE (6.68) (14.81) (15.30) (18.77) 4.34
HangSeng (8.80) (12.73) (11.21) (8.07) 12.00
Kospi (8.36) (17.24) (12.81) (16.68) 11.10
MSCI World Index 7.41 2.33 8.16 18.73 16.22
Nikkei (6.06) (6.66) (7.57) (21.20) 0.90
*Note:- Returns calculated for less than 1 year are Absolute returns and returns calculated for more than 1 year are compounded annualized.

Golden Quotes:

James Grant : “Nothing beats a little cash in a bear market and the oldest form of cash is gold.”

Karl Marx : “Although gold and silver are not by nature money, money is by nature gold and silver.”

At the end of the day, bullion is more important than the billion.

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How to buy Gold ETF?

How to buy Gold ETF?

Listed below is a simple way to own a Gold ETF.

Gold EFT are fast becoming a rage in India. One reason attributed to its popularity could be its stellar performance in a relatively subdued market conditions.

When first introduced in India, many were skeptical about its relevance and suitability in Indian markets, however increasing volumes and new scheme launches(Quantum, SBI) indicate its growing acceptance in a naive market like India. It is a complex financial instrument. (read EFT F.A.Q).It involves many different entities apart from usual fund managers who manage the scheme. However, its has its own limitations since it is listed on exchanges.

Many people are unaware of ways to buy a GOLD ETF.

You need a Demat account along with broker who is a member of NSE to buy a Gold ETF.

Some of the popular brokerage firms like ICICI Direct, HDFC Securities, KOTAK Securities.

Along with traditional brokerage firms like India Infoline, Geojit, IndiaBulls, Sharekhan also offer a demat account with brokerage facilities.

Once you have a brokerage account you can buy Gold ETF by placing an order like a normal stock order to buy listed Gold ETF. Most of the ETF are listed only on NSE. Unfortunately, BSE does not have any Gold ETF listed on it.

Additionally codes like be required to be inputted to buy it online or through telephone, as many brokerage firm’s customer care executives are unaware of the codes.

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Benchmark Mutual Fund – Gold Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme (NSE Symbol: GOLDBEES)

See today’s price Nav of Kotak Mutual Fund – Gold Exchange Traded Fund (NSE Symbol: KOTAKGOLD)(See price chart)

See today’s price Nav of UTI Mutual Fund – UTI Gold Exchange Traded Fund (NSE Symbol: GOLDSHARE)

See today’s price Nav of Reliance Mutual Fund – Gold Exchange Traded Fund (NSE Symbol: RELGOLD)(See price chart)

Quantum Gold Fund – Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) (NSE Symbol: QGOLDHALF)

Interesingly, Quantum Gold is also available for 0.5 grams(1/2 gram) of gold. Now that’s truly a product for the masses since the pricing is half of other available Gold ETF.

Apart from Gold ETF, some other mutual funds are also available which invest in different gold mining companies and international gold funds as well.

Funds like DSP ML World Gold and AIG Gold Fund have also fared better than indicative markets indices.

Since these funds(DSP World Gold, AIG Gold) are not ETF’s, no demat account is required and can be purchased like any other mutual fund schemes.

Update: January, 07, 2009.
Now Kotak Securites has launched a facility where investors can invest in Gold ETF on a regular basis.
These facility in similar to SIP in GOLD ETF, or GOLD ETF SIP.
Kindly comment in case any other brokerage has similar facility.

Kotak Gold ETF Price movement chart.

Kotak Gold ETF Price movement chart.
Below is the price movement chart for Kotak Gold ETF since 01-Jan-2008 till 28-May-2008. A trendline is also added to the chart for better understanding purpose.
The prices are the applicable NAV for corresponding period or dates.

Kotak Gold ETF Price movement chart

Kotak Gold ETF Price movement chart

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Reliance Gold ETF Price movement chart

Reliance Gold ETF Price movement chart.

Below is the price movement chart for Reliance Gold ETF since 01-Dec 2007 till 29-April-2008.

Price movement chart for Reliance Gold ETF

Price movement chart for Reliance Gold ETF

A trendline is also added to the chart for better understanding purpose.

The prices are the applicable NAV for corresponding period or dates.

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F.A.Q’s ETF (PART 3)

ETFs are different from Mutual funds in the sense that ETF units are not sold to the public for cash. Instead, the Asset Management Company that sponsors the ETF (Fund) takes the shares of companies comprising the index from various categories of investors like authorized participants, large investors and institutions. In turn, it issues them a large block of ETF units. Since dividend may have accumulated for the stocks at any point in time, a cash component to that extent is also taken from such investors. In other words, a large block of ETF units called a “Creation Unit” is exchanged for a “Portfolio Deposit” of stocks and “Cash Component”.

The number of outstanding ETF units is not limited, as with traditional mutual funds. It may increase if investors deposit shares to create ETF units; or it may reduce on a day if some ETF holders redeem their ETF units for the underlying shares. These transactions are conducted by sending creation / redemption instructions to the Fund. The Portfolio Deposit closely approximates the proportion of the stocks in the index together with a specified amount of Cash Component. This “in-kind” creation / redemption facility ensures that ETFs trade close to their fair value at any given time.

Some investors may prefer to hold the creation units in their portfolios. While others may break-up the creation units and sell on the exchanges, where individual investors may purchase them just like any other shares.

ETF units are continuously created and redeemed based on investor demand. Investors may use ETFs for investment, trading or arbitrage. The price of the ETF tracks the value of the underlying index. This provides an opportunity to investors to compare the value of underlying index against the price of the ETF units prevailing on the Exchange. If the value of the underlying index is higher than the price of the ETF, the investors may redeem the units to the Sponsor in exchange for the higher priced securities. Conversely, if the price of the underlying securities is lower than the ETF, the investors may create ETF units by depositing the lower-priced securities. This arbitrage mechanism eliminates the problem associated with closed-end mutual funds viz. the premium or discount to the NAV.

F.A.Q’s ETF (PART 2)

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and its advantages:

Advantages of ETFs

While many investors have similar outlooks, no two are exactly alike. Due to the unique structure of ETFs, all types of investors, whether retail or institutional, long-term or short-term, can use it to their advantage without being at a disadvantage to others. They allow long-term investors to diversify their portfolio at one shot at low cost and insulate them from short-term trading activity due to the unique “in-kind” creation / redemption process. They provide liquidity for investors with a shorter-term horizon as they can trade intra-day and can have quotes near NAV during the course of trading day. As initial investment is low, retail investors find it simple and convenient to buy / sell. They facilitate FIIs, Institutions and Mutual Funds to have easy asset allocation, hedging, equitising cash at a low cost. They enable arbitrageurs to carry out arbitrage between the Cash and the Futures markets at low impact cost.

ETFs provide exposure to an index or a basket of securities that trade on the exchange like a single stock. They offer a number of advantages over traditional open-ended index funds as follows :

* While redemptions of Index fund units takes place at a fixed NAV price (usually end of day), ETFs offer the convenience of intra-day purchase and sale on the Exchange, to take advantage of the prevailing price, which is close to the actual NAV of the scheme at any point in time.

* They provide investors a fund that closely tracks the performance of an index throughout the day with the ability to buy/sell at any time, whereby trading opportunities that arise during a day may be better utilized.

* They are low cost.

* Unlike listed closed-ended funds, which trade at substantial premia or more frequently at discounts to NAV, ETFs are structured in a manner which allows Authorized Participants and Large Institutions to create new units and redeem outstanding units directly with the fund, thereby ensuring that ETFs trade close to their actual NAVs.

* ETFs are like any other index fund, wherein, subscription / redemption of units work on the concept of exchange with underlying securities instead of cash (for large deals).

* Since an ETF is listed on an Exchange, costs of distribution are much lower and the reach is wider. These savings in cost are passed on to the investors in the form of lower costs. Further, the structure helps reduce collection, disbursement and other processing charges.

* ETFs protect long-term investors from inflows and outflows of short-term investors. This is because the fund does not incur extra transaction cost for buying/selling the index shares due to frequent subscriptions and redemptions.

* Tracking error, which is divergence between the NAV of the ETF and the underlying Index, is generally observed to be low as compared to a normal index fund due to lower expenses and the unique in-kind creation / redemption process.

* ETFs are highly flexible and can be used as a tool for gaining instant exposure to the equity markets, equitising cash or for arbitraging between the cash and futures market.

The first ETF in India, “Nifty BeEs (Nifty Benchmark Exchange Traded Scheme) based on S&P CNX Nifty, was launched in January 2002 by Benchmark Mutual Fund. It may be bought and sold like any other stock on NSE. Its symbol on NSE is “NIFTYBEES”.

F.A.Q’s ETF (PART 1)

ETFs are just what their name implies: baskets of securities that are traded, like individual stocks, on an exchange. Unlike regular open-end mutual funds, ETFs can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like any stock.

Most ETFs charge lower annual expenses than index mutual funds. However, as with stocks, one must pay a brokerage to buy and sell ETF units, which can be a significant drawback for those who trade frequently or invest regular sums of money.

They first came into existence in the USA in 1993. It took several years for them to attract public interest. But once they did, the volumes took off with a vengeance. Over the last few years more than $120 billion (as on June 2002) is invested in about 230 ETFs. About 60% of trading volumes on the American Stock Exchange are from ETFs. The most popular ETFs are QQQs (Cubes) based on the Nasdaq-100 Index, SPDRs (Spiders) based on the S&P 500 Index, iSHARES based on MSCI Indices and TRAHK (Tracks) based on the Hang Seng Index. The average daily trading volume in QQQ is around 89 million shares.

Their passive nature is a necessity: the funds rely on an arbitrage mechanism to keep the prices at which they trade roughly in line with the net asset values of their underlying portfolios. For the mechanism to work, potential arbitragers need to have full, timely knowledge of a fund’s holdings.

In essence, ETFs trade like stocks and therefore offer a degree of flexibility unavailable with traditional mutual funds. Specifically, investors can trade ETFs throughout the trading day as in stocks. In comparison, in a traditional mutual fund, investors can purchase units only at the fund’s NAV, which is published at the end of each trading day. In fact, investors cannot purchase ETFs at the closing NAV. This difference gives rise to an important advantage of ETFs over traditional funds: ETFs are immediately tradable and consequently, the risk of price differential between the time of investment and time of trade is substantially less in the case of ETFs.

ETFs are cheaper than traditional mutual funds and index funds in terms of fees. However, while investing in an ETF, an investor pays a commission to the broker. The tracking error of ETFs is generally lower than traditional index funds due to the “in-kind” creation / redemption facility and the low expense ratio. This “in-kind” creation / redemption facility ensures that long-term investors do not suffer at the cost of short-term investor activity.

ETFs can be bought / sold through trading terminals anywhere across the country. Table No. 1 presents a comparative view ETFs vis-à-vis other funds.
ETFs Vs. Open Ended Funds Vs. Close Ended Funds

Parameter Open Ended Fund Closed Ended Fund Exchange Traded Fund

Fund Size Flexible Fixed Flexible

NAV Daily Daily Real Time

Liquidity ProviderFund itself Stock Market Stock Market / Fund itself
Sale Price At NAV plus load, Significant Premium Very close to actual NAV of Scheme
if any / Discount to NAV

Availability Fund itself Through Exchange where listedThrough Exchange where listed / Fund
itself.

Portfolio Disclosure Monthly Monthly Daily/Real-time

Uses Equitising cash – Equitising Cash, Hedging, Arbitrage

Intra-Day Trading Not possible Expensive Possible at low cost

Applications of ETFs

* Efficient Trading : ETFs provide investors a convenient way to gain market exposure viz. an index that trades like a stock. In comparison to a stock, an investment in an ETF index product provides a diversified exposure to the market. Depending on the index, investors may obtain exposure to countries/ markets or sectors.

* Equitising Cash : Investors with idle cash in their portfolios may want to invest in a product tied to a market benchmark like an index as a temporary investment before deciding which stocks to buy or waiting for the right price.

* Managing Cash Flows : Investment managers who see regular inflows and outflows may use ETFs because of their liquidity and their ability to represent the market.

* Diversifying Exposure : If an investor is not sure about which particular stock to buy but likes the overall sector, investing in shares tied to an index or basket of stocks provides diversified exposure and reduces stock specific risk.

* Filling Gaps : ETFs tied to a sector or industry may be used to gain exposure to new and important sectors. Such strategies may also be used to reduce an overweight or increase an underweight sector.

* Shorting or Hedging : Investors who have a negative view on a market segment or specific sector may want to establish a short position to capitalize on that view. ETFs may be sold short against long stock holdings as a hedge against a decline in the market or specific sector.