ETFs For March Madness (VT, BJK, GLTR)
March brings lions, lambs, ides and an entire day devoted to the consumption of adult beverages. It also brings March Madness, also known as the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The 68-team field was announced Sunday and Tuesday will bring the first game.
March Madness is big business for advertisers and networks alike. It's also a pain in the neck for employers in scores of industries. Simply put, March Madness leads to a maddening decline in worker productivity. Last year, Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimated the NCAA Tournament costs employers $1.8 billion in unproductive wages.
Recent research shows 38% of workers intend to watch a game at work. Roughly a quarter of workers surveyed said they intend to do some kind of research for their brackets while at work. And the argument can be made that workers watching games via streaming services online consumer bandwidth for non-professional purposes.
There are bound to be some stock market winners thanks to March Madness and these ETFs might contain a few.
Market Vectors Gaming ETF (NYSE: BJK) The bulk of the gambling done on the NCAA Tournament comes in the form of office pools and the like, but in case you didn't go to Harvard Law School, that type of endeavor is actually illegal. Still, Americans throw several billion per year into illegal March Madness pools. Las Vegas casinos generate an estimated $100 million in revenue thanks to the tournament.
That's probably not going to be enough to move the needle much with BJK, but there are other reasons to consider this ETF. Among them: A rebounding global economy and BJK's emerging markets exposure.
PowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment Portfolio (NYSE: PEJ) The PowerShares Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment Portfolio is more heavily allocated to restaurant stocks such as Chipotle (NYSE: CMG), McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) and Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM), but CBS (NYSE: CBS), the network that will broadcast many tournament games and the Final Four, is the ETF's third-largest holding at 5%.
PEJ is up more than 13% year-to-date, but is looking over-extended and really needs to break some resistance around $21.30 to get new buyers into the game.
PowerShares Dynamic Media Portfolio (NYSE: PBS) PBS should be a winner in 2012 because of increased election year ad spending but this ETF is a fine idea for March Madness. CBS is the top holding here at almost 5.2% and PBS offers access to the other major networks as well as some of the largest cable providers as well. The ETF's biggest test isn't March Madness, but resistance at $15.
Vanguard Total World Stock Index ETF (NYSE: VT) The Vanguard Total World Stock Index ETF enjoyed solid performances in January and February, but the ETF hasn't impressed much to start March and if traders are spending more time watching games and filling out brackets, this is one ETF that could wilt during a time of low volume and waning interest. Sell in March and go away could be potentially damaging to VT.
ETFS Physical PM Basket Shares (NYSE: GLTR) No guarantees, but perhaps history will repeat itself. That history being a low correlation to stocks by precious metals in March 2011. ConvergEx data published following the last NCAA Tournament showed the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD) and the iShares Silver Trust (NYSE: SLV) were among the least correlated ETFs to the S&P 500 in March 2011.
GLTR offers exposure to both gold and silver along with platinum and palladium and that could make the ETF worth a look if precious metals move to the beat of their own drummer this month.
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