State Street, the issuer behind the two largest U.S.-listed exchange-traded products, announced today the launch of three new funds offering targeted exposure to key sub-sectors of the U.S. economy. The new funds will track narrow corners of the technology, healthcare and industrials sector, giving investors new options for placing targeted bets on the U.S. economy. The new ETFs include the following:
SPDR Software and Services ETF (XSW)
This ETF will seek to replicate the S&P Software and Services Select Industry Index, a benchmark that consists of companies in the following sub-sectors: Application software, data processing and outsourced services, home entertainment software, Internet software and services, IT consulting and systems software.
XSW will compete with three existing software ETFs that are already pretty well established in the space, including iShares' IGV, PowerShares’ PSJ and the Software HOLDRS (SWH) that is expected to be wound down later this year (SWH isn’t among the six HOLDRS scheduled to be converted to Van Eck ETFs).
SPDR S&P Health Care Services ETF (XHS)
This ETF will seek to replicate the S&P Health Care Services Select Industry Index, a benchmark that consists of almost 60 stocks that provide healthcare services.
XHS will be the first pure play healthcare services ETF, but joins a number of existing ETFs that offer targeted exposure to the health care industry: Healthcare providers (IHF) and medical devices (IHI and XHE).
SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF (XAR)
This ETF will seek to replicate the S&P Aerospace & Defense Select Industry Index, which consist of about 35 companies. Aerospace and defense companies have been in focus recently as discussions over options for slashing the federal budget deficit have been kicked around Washington. One increasingly likely scenario involves extensive cuts to the defense budget, which could hamper the profitability of the companies that make up XAR.
XAR will be the third ETF offering exposure to the aerospace and defense sector, joining the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace & Defense Index Fund (ITA) and PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (PPA). Those two ETFs have aggregate assets of about $175 million.
XAR’s expense ratio will be considerably lower than both existing products. All three new SPDRs will charge an expense ratio of 0.35%.
The launch of the three new SPDRs caps a busy month for the ETF industry; after a summer slowdown, close to 40 new products have started trading in September.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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