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State Street Launches Intermediate Term Bond ETF

State Street recently launched the SPDR Barclays Capital Intermediate Term Credit Bond ETF (Ticker: ITR).

The new ETF provides investors with precise, low-cost access to intermediate term bonds including investment grade corporate and non-corporate bonds with a maturity of 1 to 10 years.

Top fund holdings include bonds issued by General Electric, Citigroup, United Mexican States and Federal Republic of Brazil.

The new ETF carries an expense ratio of 0.15% and will compete with the iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate Bond Fund (Ticker: LQD).


Lower Expense Ratio for Sector ETFs

State Street Global Advisors has lowered the average expense ratio on its 9 S&P 500 sector ETFs from 0.23% to 0.21%.

The new expense ratio went into effect on January 31, 2009 and continues a trend of lower expenses for ETF investors as assets grow.  When the Select Sector SPDR funds were launched 10 years ago, the expense ratio was 0.65%.

ETFs with the new, lower expense ratio include:

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLF)

Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE)

Information Technology Select Sector Index (XLK)

Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP)

Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV)


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First High-Yield Municipal Bond ETF Launches

Van Eck Global has launched the first high-yield municipal bond ETF.

The Market Vectors High-Yield Municipal Index ETF (HYD) is the first ETF to focus on the high-yield segment of the municipal bond market.

The new ETF has several advantages over traditional mutual funds and closed end funds that focus on the municipal bond market.  In addition to portfolio and price transparency, HYD does not use leverage and carries a net expense ratio of only 0.35%.

HYD tracks an index that has a 25% weighting in investment-grade triple-B bonds and a 75% weighting in below-investment grade bonds.

As of December 31, 2008, the sector weightings were 21.4%, 14.7%, 13.5% and 13.5% to health care, industrial development, special tax and airports respectively.

Exposure to California was 12.3% as of February 9, 2009.

See the Continue Reading »

First Pre-Refunded Municipal Bond ETF Starts Trading

Van Eck Global announced the launch of the first pre-refunded municipal bond ETF.

The Market Vectors Pre-Refunded Municipal Index ETF (PRB) is the first ETF to focus on the pre-refunded segment of the municipal bond market.

Pre-refunded munis are bonds that have been refinanced by their issuers and remain outstanding in the municipal market. The principal and interest of the bonds are secured by Treasury obligations backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

See the Van Eck Global ETF Directory for a complete listing.

Volatility ETNs Begin Trading

Barclays Bank PLC has listed two new ETNs that provide investors with exposure to the CBOE Volatility Index or VIX.

The iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) and the iPath S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN (VXZ) track indexes tied to the implied volatility of the S&P 500 Index at various points along the volatility forward curve

VXX targets a constant weighted average future maturity of one month and VXZ targets a constant weighted average futures maturity of five months.

See the iPath ETN Directory for a complete listing.

Two New Fixed Income ETFs Start Trading

State Street Global Advisors added two more ETFs to its stable of fixed income funds.

The SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF (BWZ) and the SPDR Barclays Capital Mortgage Backed Bond ETF (MBG) are designed to provide investors with cost-efficient exposure to precise segments of the fixed income market.

BWZ tracks the price and yield performance of the Barclays Capital 1-3 Year Global Treasury ex-US Capped Index which includes 229 issues with remaining maturities of one to three years from 21 investment-grade countries outside of the United States. The fund's expense ratio is 0.35 percent.

MBG tracks the price and yield of the Barclays Capital U.S.

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Northern Trust to Close ETFs

Northern Trust has announced that it intends to exit the ETF business.

The 17 Northern Trust funds will stop trading on February 9 and liquidation will take place on February 20.

Launched in 2008, the Northern Trust ETFs were designed to track international, single-country benchmarks.  The funds had collectively attracted a total of $33 million in assets as of December 31, 2008.

The ETFs that will close include:

NETS™ S&P/ASX 200 Index Fund (Australia) (AUS)

NETS™ BEL 20® Index Fund (Belgium) (BRU)

NETS™ Hang Seng China Enterprises Index Fund (SNO)

NETS™ CAC40® Index Fund (France) (FRC)

NETS™ DAX® Index Fund (Germany) (DAX)

NETS™ Hang Seng Index Fund (

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Airline ETF Takes Off

Claymore launched the industry's first exchange traded fund that invests in global passenger airline companies.

The Claymore Airline ETF (FAA) tracks the NYSE Arca Global Airline Index.  The index is weighted approximately 70% in US airlines and 30% in international airlines.

As of December 31, 2008, the top five Index constituents were AMR Corp (AMR), Continental Airlines Inc (CAL), Southwest Airlines Co (LUV), JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU) and Delta Airlines Inc (DAL).

See the Claymore ETF directory for a complete listing.

Two International Fixed Income ETFs Start Trading

Barclays Global Investors launched two new ETFs that invest in international treasury bonds.

The iShares S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Bond Fund (IGOV) and the iShares S&P/Citigroup 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond Fund (ISHG) offer convenient, cost-effective, liquid ways to access the international fixed income markets.

The underlying indexes for the funds are broad, diverse and market value-weighted designed to measure the performance of Treasury bonds issued in local currencies by developed market countries outside of the U.S.

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Van Eck Launches Indonesia Fund

Van Eck Global launched the Market Vectors Indonesia ETF (IDX), the first ETF focused on Indonesia available to U.S. investors.

Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia and is one of the most rapidly developing nations in the emerging markets universe. The Fund  also offers potential diversification benefits since Indonesia has historically had one of Southeast Asia’s lower equity correlations with the developed markets

Top holdings include Bank Central Asia (8.8%), Telekomunikasi Indonesia (7.5%) and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (7.0%).

See the Van Eck Global ETF directory for a complete listing.

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