This was a tough year to launch any new product, and exchange-traded funds were no exception.While ETFs were anticipated by many to overtake mutual funds due to their ability to trade like stocks, the crippling global economic crisis of 2008 put a halt to that growth for now, forcing dozens of new ETFs to close and hundreds more to delay launching until conditions improve.Approximately 70% of the 730 U.S.-based ETFs opened in the last three years, but that pace has slowed significantly this past fall. Many ETFs based on the healthcare industry are liquidating, such as those of New York ETF firm XShares Advisors, and many exchange-traded products based on commodities like oil have been hammered by extremely volatile price swings.Actively managed ETFs also failed to garner widespread support in 2008.
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