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The building and infrastructure sector gained some popularity with investors in 2010 due to the logical thinking that both developed (including the US) and developing nations need to make a wide variety of internal improvements especially in the electric grid, engineering, construction, roads and bridges, dams and many other developments.

There aren't that many pure ETF choices in the sector but we'll proceed with this for now given the sector will likely expand in the future. Depending on overall market conditions AUM (assets under management) should expand making these listings more impressive and compelling.

Certainly in emerging markets there is much activity planned. Given current economic conditions in the developed world infrastructure projects can be seen as necessary as existing infrastructure requires improvements. Making investments in these projects as international and domestic economic growth slows is generally believed as important and stimulative while others may argue such hasn't been the case. In Japan in the late 1990s infrastructure spending was high on the list of government spending yet the Japanese economy continued to struggle.

When possible we prefer to feature a technical view of conditions from monthly chart views. Simplistically, we recommend longer-term investors stay on the right side of the 12 month simple moving average. When prices are above the moving average, stay long, and when below remain in cash or short. Some more interested in a fundamental approach may not care so much about technical issues preferring instead to buy when prices are perceived as low and sell for other reasons when high.

#10: EGShares China Infrastructure ETF (NYSEARCA:CHXX)

CHXX follows the INDXX China Infrastructure Index. The index is a free-float market capitalization weighted stock market index comprised of 30 leading companies that INDXX, LLC determines to be representative of China's infrastructure sector. The fund was launched in February 2010. The expense ratio is .85%. AUM equal $13 million and average daily trading volume is less than 8K shares.

As of early April 2012 the annual dividend yield was 2.37% and YTD return was 14.45%. The one year return was -22.77%.

Data as of April 2012

CHXX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. China Communications Construction Co., Ltd. (01800): 7.14%
  2. China National Building Material Co., Ltd. (03323): 4.93%
  3. Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd. (OTC:EGRNF): 4.86%
  4. Jiangxi Copper Company Limited (00358): 4.60%
  5. China Oilfield Services Limited (02883): 4.58%
  6. Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co., Ltd (OTCPK:ZLIOF): 4.45%
  7. Anhui Conch Cement Company Limited (00914): 4.38%
  8. China Telecom Corp Ltd (00728): 4.25%
  9. China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd (00762): 3.93%
  10. Aluminum Corporation of China Limited (02600): 3.69%

#9: PowerShares Building & Construction ETF (NYSEARCA:PKB)

PKB follows the dynamic Building & Construction Intellidex Index, which is an "enhanced" index designed to provide capital appreciation by evaluating companies based on fundamental growth investment timeliness, valuations and risk factors. The fund was launched in October 2005. The expense ratio is .60%. AUM equal $32 million and average trading volume is less than 14K shares.

As of early April 2012 the annual dividend yield was .12% and YTD return was 15.19%. The one year return was -5.03%.

Data as of April 2012

PKB Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW): 5.28%
  2. DR Horton Inc (DHI): 5.18%
  3. Mohawk Industries, Inc. (MHK): 5.14%
  4. Tractor Supply (TSCO): 5.12%
  5. Home Depot, Inc. (HD): 5.12%
  6. KBR, Inc. (KBR): 5.02%
  7. Jacobs Engineering Group (JEC): 4.95%
  8. Vulcan Materials Company (VMC): 4.88%
  9. PulteGroup Inc (PHM): 2.86%
  10. Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (LPX): 2.85%

#8: First Trust Global Engineering & Construction ETF (NYSEARCA:FLM)

FLM follows the ISE Global Engineering and Construction Index, which targets companies engaged in large civil and capital projects including utilities, transportation, telecommunications, commercial, residential and infrastructure. The fund was launched in October 2008. The expense ratio is .70%. AUM equal $35.9 million and average daily trading volume is 7.3K shares.

As of early April 2012 the annual dividend was 1.8% and YTD return was 9.99%. The one year return was -18.52%.

Data as of April 2012

FLM Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Aker Solutions ASA (AKSO): 3.00%
  2. KBR, Inc. : 2.94%
  3. Vinci (DG): 2.92%
  4. Fluor Corporation (FLR): 2.77%
  5. Leighton Holdings Limited (LEI): 2.76%
  6. JGC Corp. (1963): 2.76%
  7. McDermott International Inc (MDR): 2.65%
  8. Skanska AB (SKA B): 2.62%
  9. Foster Wheeler, Ltd. (FWLT): 2.61%
  10. Jacobs Engineering Group : 2.50%

#7: SPDR GI 100 ETF (NYSEARCA:GII)

GII follows the Macquarie Global Infrastructure 100 Index, which was created by FTSE to include companies in the infrastructure management, ownership of assets there to include utilities. The fund was launched in January 2007. The expense ratio is .59%. AUM equal $36 million and average daily trading volume is less than 5K shares.

As of early April 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.51% and YTD return 1.11%. The one year return was -2.40%.

Data as of April 2012

GII Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • E.ON Aktiengesellschaft (EOAN): 3.96%
  • GDF Suez (GSZ): 3.79%
  • Southern Co (SO): 3.39%
  • National Grid PLC (NG.): 3.12%
  • Exelon Corp (EXC): 2.89%
  • Enbridge, Inc. (ENB): 2.61%
  • TransCanada Corporation (TRP): 2.60%
  • Dominion Resources Inc (D): 2.53%
  • Duke Energy Corporation (DUK): 2.43%
  • Rwe AG (RWE): 2.39%

#6: EGShares India Infrastructure ETF (NYSEARCA:INXX)

INXX follows the INDXX India Infrastructure Index, which includes the leading 30 companies involved construction, engineering and utilities, to name a few. The fund was launched in November 2010. The expense ratio is .85%. AUM equal $61 million (which compares poorly with $81 million in July and mostly from a NAV decline like others) and average daily trading volume is 20K shares.

As of early April 2012 the annual dividend yield was .55% and YTD return 29.05%. The one year return was -24.94%.

Data as of April 2012

INXX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Tata Motors, Ltd. (TATA MOTORS): 7.90%
  2. Idea Cellular Ltd. (OTCQB:IDEA): 5.51%
  3. Power Grid Corporation Of India Ltd. (POWERGRID): 5.37%
  4. Ultra Tech Cement Ltd (ULTRACEMCO): 5.13%
  5. Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA STEEL): 5.02%
  6. ACC Limited (ACC): 4.83%
  7. Tata Power Co., Ltd. (TATA POWER): 4.79%
  8. NTPC Ltd. (NTPC): 4.44%
  9. Ambuja Cements Ltd. (AMBUJACEM): 4.39%
  10. GAIL India Ltd. (GAIL): 4.29%

#5: EGShares Brazil Infrastructure ETF (NYSEARCA:BRXX)

BRXX follows the INDXX Brazil Infrastructure Index, which consists of the 30 leading companies that INDXX, LLC deems to represent the infrastructure sector in Brazil. The fund was launched in February 2010. The expense ratio is .85%. AUM equal $89.6 million and average daily trading volume is 30K shares.

As of early April 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.05% and YTD return of 18.85%. The one year return was -3.95%.

Data as of Second Quarter 2012

BRXX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Ultrapar Holdings Inc (UGPA3): 5.88%
  2. Basic Sanitation Company of the State of Sao Paulo (SBSP3): 5.52%
  3. CPFL Energy SA (CPFE3): 5.45%
  4. Embraer S.A. (EMBR3): 5.41%
  5. CCR SA (CCRO3): 5.29%
  6. CESP - Cia Energetica de Sao Paulo Pfd Shs -B- (CESP6): 5.23%
  7. BR Malls Participacoes S.A. (BRML3): 5.03%
  8. Gerdau SA (GGBR3): 4.66%
  9. Tractebel Energia S.A. (TBLE3): 4.50%
  10. Telefonica Brasil Pfd: 4.42%

#4: iShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure ETF (NASDAQ:EMIF)

EMIF follows the S&P Emerging Markets Infrastructure Index. The fund was launched in June 2009. The expense ratio is .75%. AUM equal $120.6 million and average daily trading volume is 15K shares.

As of mid-January 2012 the annual dividend yield was 3.15% and YTD return 4.50%. The one year return was -2.59%.

Data as of April 2012

EMIF Top Ten Holdings

  1. Ultrapar Holdings Inc ADR (UGP): 14.24%
  2. Energy Company of Minas Gerais ADR (CIG): 9.55%
  3. China Merchants Holdings (International) Co., Ltd. (00144): 7.30%
  4. Cez A.S., Praha (0NZF): 5.45%
  5. CPFL Energy SA ADR (CPL): 5.40%
  6. Cosco Pacific Ltd. (01199): 5.33%
  7. China Oilfield Services Limited (02883): 4.24%
  8. National Electricity Company of Chile, Inc. ADR (EOC): 4.23%
  9. iShares MSCI Malaysia Index: 3.85%
  10. Enersis SA ADR (ENI): 3.59%

#3: PowerShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure ETF (NYSEARCA:PXR)

PXR follows the S-Network Emerging Infrastructure Builders Index, which includes construction and engineering, machinery, materials, heavy electrical equipment, mining and industrial machinery and steel. The fund was launched in October 2008. The expense ratio is .75%. AUM equal $124.6 million and average daily trading volume is 13.5K shares.

As of April 2012 the annual dividend yield was 1.61% and YTD return 15.39%. The one year return was -21.31%.

Data as of April 2012

PXR Top Ten Holdings

  1. Caterpillar Inc (CAT): 3.23%
  2. ABB, Ltd. (ABBN): 2.93%
  3. Vale SA ADR (VALE): 2.93%
  4. Atlas Copco AB (ATCO A): 2.84%
  5. Anhui Conch Cement Company Limited (00914): 2.84%
  6. MMC Norilsk Nickel JSC ADR (OTCPK:NILSY): 2.60%
  7. Taiwan Cement Corp. (1101): 2.52%
  8. Jiangxi Copper Company Limited (00358): 2.39%
  9. Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V. (OTC:ICAEF): 2.29%
  10. Semen Gresik (Persero) Tbk (SMGR): 2.27%

#2: UBS E-Tracs Alerian Infrastructure MLP (NYSEARCA:MLPI)

MLPI follows the index of the same name. It is designed to give investors exposure to the infrastructure component of the Master Limited Partnership asset class. Constituents each earn at least 50% of EBITDA from assets that are not directly exposed to changes in commodity prices.

The index is disseminated by the New York Stock Exchange and is a composite of 25 energy infrastructure MLPs. The fund was launched in March 2010. The expense ratio is .85%. AUM equal $243.3 million and average daily trading volume is 37K shares. As of April 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.75% and YTD return was 2.12%. The one year return was 11.48%.

#1: iShares Global Infrastructure ETF (NYSEARCA:IGF)

MLPI follows the S&P Global Infrastructure Index. The fund was launched in December 2007. The expense ratio is .48%. AUM equal $431 million and average daily trading volume is 45,537 shares.

As of April 2012 the annual dividend yield was 4.13% and YTD return 4.70%. The one year return was -2.73%.

Data as of Second Quarter 2012

IGF Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Transurban Group (TCL): 5.01%
  2. TransCanada Corporation : 4.36%
  3. Enbridge, Inc. (NYSE:ENB): 4.31%
  4. Abertis Infraestructuras SA (ABE): 3.65%
  5. El Paso Corporation (EP): 3.46%
  6. E.ON Aktiengesellschaft (EOAN): 3.45%
  7. Atlantia (NYSEMKT:ATL): 3.32%
  8. Williams Companies Inc (WMB): 3.32%
  9. Spectra Energy Corp (SE): 2.99%
  10. Hutchison Port Hl: 2.92%

We rank the list of ETFs by our proprietary star system, as outlined below.


Strong established linked index
Excellent consistent performance and index tracking
Low fee structure
Strong portfolio suitability
Excellent liquidity


Established linked index even if "enhanced"
Good performance or more volatile if "enhanced" index
Average to higher fee structure
Good portfolio suitability or more active management if "enhanced" index
Decent liquidity


Enhanced or seasoned index
Less consistent performance and more volatile
Fees higher than average
Portfolio suitability would need more active trading
Average to below average liquidity


Index is new
Issue is new and needs seasoning
Fees are high
Portfolio suitability also needs seasoning
Liquidity below average

The infrastructure sector has been negatively affected by fears over a global slowdown, which hurts the sector in the short-term. Longer-term, one favorite way for government authorities to stimulate better economic growth is through higher spending in this category. This has yet to materialize and of course there are pundits who believe this activity is ineffective. Nevertheless, it takes time for spending to kick-in and projects to be started given red tape and other issues.

It's also important to remember that ETF sponsors have their own competitive business interests when issuing products which may not necessarily align with your investment needs. New ETFs from highly regarded and substantial new providers are also being issued. These may include Charles Schwab's ETFs and Scottrade's Focus Shares which both are issuing new ETFs with low expense ratios and commission free trading at their respective firms. These may also become popular as they become seasoned.

Source: 10 Top Global Building And Infrastructure ETFs