Thoughts on S&P's ETF Portfolio (ETFs: SPY, MDY, IJR, EFA, EWJ, EPP, EEM)

 |  Includes: EEM, EFA, EPP, EWJ, IJR, MDY, SPY
by: Roger Nusbaum

Roger Nusbaum submits: BusinessWeek had an article about S+P's ETF portfolio. The portfolio itself has a couple of interesting wrinkles and the actual article makes a couple of good points.

First, here's the portfolio:

iShares Small Cap (NYSEARCA:IJR) 4%
iShares Japan (NYSEARCA:EWJ) 4%
iShares Pacific ex-Japan (NYSEARCA:EPP) 4%
iShares Emerging Market (NYSEARCA:EEM) 3%

Very rarely do you see regional funds make their way into this type of portfolio. I am a big fan of Australia, and EPP is mostly weighted to Australia. Australia is a way to add commodity exposure to a portfolio (Canada probably also does the trick too). I think commodities will be more important for the rest of the decade than they were in the 1990s, so the exposure is important. The Australian dollar has a 0.94 correlation to the price of gold and while EPP is not the Aussie dollar it gets you reasonably close. From that stand point EPP could almost be a proxy for a materials sector ETF.

I also like the 20% weight to foreign -- I think it could even be little more than 20%.

The article addresses the possibility of incorporating a sector ETF in conjunction with the core equity portfolio above. The article also talks about the risk of having too much in a sector ETF but that it could be worthwhile. Bingo.

I don't think it matters how good or not this portfolio is. It's progress in the type of coverage we have seen. There are currently too few people and web sites offering real insight about ETFs.

One barometer for progress might be when mega-caps finally rotate back into favor. Despite only one ETF referring to itself as mega-cap (NYSEARCA:XLG) there are a lot of interesting ETFs -- foreign, domestic and a blend of both -- that cover this part of the market. These get no attention because they are the wrong part of the market right now. Stay tuned.


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