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BubbleWary Markets Eye ETF Crush in Tech and Crypto

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Is the presumed proliferation of market bubbles just speculative froth among amateur traders or is concentrated institutional money blowing big soapy spheres that interconnect and may inevitably burst each other?

The two factors are certainly at play as savings balloon amid massive government and central bank support for confined populations during the pandemic.

Overcaffeinated day traders with whizzy new stock market apps and punting from bedrooms during lockdown get most blame for some of blinding single stock surges of the past six months.

The parabolic price surges include seemingly unrelated booms in anything from carmaker Tesla to cryptocurrency Bitcoin, Big Tech disrupters or barely profitable internet startups.

Few doubt the combination of pandemic confinement, job furloughs, windfall savings and lowcost trading platforms all speak loudly to the phenomenon.

But the buzz around some active themed funds in the mushrooming Exchange Traded Fund space is just as eyecatching and perhaps raises bigger questions about concentrated risk.

A ballooning of the ETF world since the last great crash is the first obvious point as they were only bit players in the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. The number of ETFs captured by fund tracker Lipper has risen almost fivefold since 2009 to some 5,582 worldwide last year with combined assets of almost 6 trillion compared with less than 900 billion 11 years ago.

Refinitiv data shows the combined ETF and wider Exchange Traded…

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