By Heather Bell
WisdomTree Launches Currency ETFs
On May 14, WisdomTree (WSDT.PK) rolled out the first four currency exchange-traded funds resulting from its co-branding relationship with The Dreyfus Corporation.
The new funds include:
- The WisdomTree Dreyfus Chinese Yuan Fund (NYSE: CYB)
- The WisdomTree Dreyfus Indian Rupee Fund (NYSE: ICN)
- The WisdomTree Dreyfus Brazilian Real Fund (NYSE: BZF)
- The WisdomTree Dreyfus Euro Fund (NYSE: EU)
Although the ETFs are not money market funds in the traditional sense, their objective is to earn income that reflects the money market rates of their respective currencies. They will invest primarily in short-term, investment-grade debt and seek to maintain an average portfolio maturity of 60 days. The Securities & Exchange Commission classifies the funds as actively managed.
They are designed to give exposure to foreign currencies with potentially greater yield (and more unique currencies) than existing currency ETFs.
EU charges an expense ratio of 0.35%; the other three funds charge 0.45%.
Read the prospectus here [pdf file].
Northern Trust Casts More NETS
On May 11, Northern Trust launched another three of its NETS (Northern Trust Exchange-Traded Shares) products, bringing its total lineup to nine exchange-traded funds. The newest funds are the:
- NETS FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index Fund (AMEX: JNB)
- NETS S&P/MIB Index Fund (AMEX: ITL)
- NETS FTSE Singapore Straits Times Index Fund (AMEX: SGT).
The funds track the major local indexes for the South African, Italian and Singapore stock markets, respectively.
Northern Trust is in the process of rolling out a series of ETFs that track popular local indexes for a wide range of foreign countries. The other NETS currently trading cover Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the United Kingdom.
JNB—the South Africa fund—charges 0.65% in annual expenses, while all the other ETFs in the NETS lineup charge 0.47%.
New Van Eck ETNs Leverage, Short Euro
Van Eck has joined the double-leveraged and double-short exchange-traded notes market with the May 7 launch of euro-focused portfolios.
Both ETNs are based on total return indexes, which means that the ETNs' value will include daily interest based on overnight federal funds open rates. Interest will be incorporated into the value of the notes, rather than paid out in separate payments; investors will still have to pay taxes on this "virtual income" each year.
Both notes carry an expense ratio of 0.65%.
ALPS Launches Global Real Estate ETF
On May 9, the first fund from ALPS Holdings Inc. rolled out on the American Stock Exchange. The Cohen & Steers Global Realty Majors ETF (Amex: GRI) has an underlying index that covers 75 real estate companies from developed markets in North America, the Asia-Pacific region and Europe.
Components are chosen from a global universe of about 500 real estate securities, including real estate investment trusts (REITs) and REIT-like companies. Capitalization and liquidity screens are applied to eliminate companies smaller than $1 billion and those with light trading volume.
From there, companies are evaluated regarding a number of qualitative and quantitative criteria, including their ownership of real estate, management track record, market position, real estate portfolio quality, corporate governance and capital structure. The index also takes into consideration each country's percentage of global GDP and representation in the global real estate market when selecting stocks for the index. The index is weighted by modified market capitalization. The fund charges an annual expense ratio of 0.55%.
UBS Goes Platinum
Just last week UBS rolled out the E-TRACS UBS Long Platinum ETN (NYSE: PTM) and E-TRACS UBS Short Platinum ETN (NYSE: PTD). Previously, U.S. investors who did not want to participate in the futures market had no way of investing in platinum.
The UBS ETNs track the UBS Bloomberg CMCI Platinum Total Return Index. The E-TRACS family of ETNS already has several commodities-based ETNs covering different sectors as well as gold and silver currently trading, all of them tracking the UBS Bloomberg CMCI and its subindexes. They charge expense ratios of 0.65%.
New SPDRs Cover International Real Estate and Mid Caps
On May 13, State Street Global Advisors launched the SPDR DJ Wilshire Global Real Estate ETF (AMEX: RWO), adding another competitor to the growing field of international real estate. The fund comes with an expense ratio of 0.50%.
RWO's index includes more than 240 commercial and residential real estate companies domiciled in 23 countries across the globe, including the U.S. The underlying index is actually a combination of the indexes tracked by two other SSgA funds—the Dow Jones Wilshire REIT ETF (AMEX: RWR) and the SPDR Dow Jones Wilshire International Real Estate ETF (AMEX: RWX).
SSgA also rolled out the SPDR S&P International Mid Cap ETF (AMEX: MDD). It's built to track an index with more than 850 companies with market caps between $2 billion and $5 billion from 25 developed markets outside the U.S. It will carry an annual expense ratio of 0.45% and provide U.S. investors with another tool to fine-tune their international allocations.