Throughout the year, international stocks have been on a tear and investors can't seem to get enough exposure to overseas opportunities in any form.
On the ETF shelf, State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) launched the SPDR S&P BRIC 40 ETF (BIK) on the American Stock Exchange (Amex) in late June. The fund's index includes 40 leading companies representing the largest and most liquid securities in Brazil, Russia, India and China (the "BRIC" economies). All index holdings trade in developed market exchanges (Hong Kong Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and NYSE).
The BRIC ETF from State Street will compete head-to-head with Claymore's BNY BRIC ETF (EEB), which has a similar investment strategy but charges a higher expense ratio of 0.60 percent. By comparison, the SPDR BRIC has a ratio of 0.40 percent, which could cause assets to defect from the Claymore ETF.
"The launch of SPDR S&P BRIC 40 ETF reflects the significant interest that we are seeing from financial advisors and institutional investors in this particular segment of emerging markets," says James Ross, senior managing director of State Street Global Advisors. "In providing easy, low cost, precise exposure to the BRIC countries, it helps to diversify and expand our offering of emerging markets ETFs."
State Street has been rounding out its international fund lineup over the past few months. During the first quarter, the company introduced six regionally focused emerging market funds, including the SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC), which targets white-hot Chinese stocks. The fund has gained almost 12 percent over the past month alone.
In related news, Power-Shares launched four international ETFs on the New York Stock Exchange on June 25:o PowerShares Europe Portfolio (PEF)o PowerShares Japan Portfolio (PJO)o PowerShares Asia Pacific ex-Japan Portfolio (PAF)o PowerShares Developed Markets ex-U.S. Portfolio (PXF)
Each of the funds follows FTSE Research Affiliates-designed indices, which rank stocks according to their corporate fundamentals.
Ron DeLegge is the San Diego-based editor of www.etfguide.com.