More Me Too ETFs From iShares Debut Today
Keeping up a blistering pace of new product introductions in 2012 BlackRock's (NYSE: BLK) iShares, the world's largest ETF sponsor, will introduce five new ETFs today. All five are equities-based commodities funds and at least three of the five look to be direct rivals to currently existing ETFs from other issuers.
The The iShares MSCI Global Agriculture Producers Fund (NYSE: VEGI) will have an expense ratio of 0.39% and track an index of nearly 170 companies. According to VEGI's fact sheet, Monsanto (NYSE: MON), Potash (NYSE: POT) and Deere (NYSE: DE) account for over 28% of the fund's weight. Other top-10 holdings include Agrium (NYSE: AGU) and Mosaic (NYSE: MOS).
Translation: VEGI will butt heads with the Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (NYSE: MOO), which has been the dominant large-cap agribusiness ETF on the market since it debuted in 2007. Taking on MOO has proven to be no easy task for other ETF issuers.
Next up is the iShares MSCI Global Energy Producers Fund (NYSE: FILL). FILL will also have an expense ratio of 0.39% and track an index of 313 stocks, according to the ETF's fact sheet. With a top-10 lineup that includes Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) and BP (NYSE: BP), among others, FILL looks a lot like the iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund (NYSE: IXC) and a bit like the SPDR S&P International Energy Sector ETF (NYSE: IPW). FILL does offer a combined allocation of over 7% to refiners and coal producers.
The iShares MSCI Global Select Metals & Mining Producers (NYSE: PICK) is next up on the docket. That fund will also have fees of 0.39% and track an index of 363 holdings. Home to BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP), Rio Tinto (NYSE: RIO) and Vale (NYSE: VALE), among others, the ETF looks somewhat like the iShares S&P Global Materials ETF (NYSE: MXI).
The iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners Fund (NYSE: RING), which also has an expense ratio of 0.39% and tracks an index of 42 stocks, has a lineup that makes the fund look like a rival to the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE: GDX). With over $9.4 billion in assets, GDX is the dominant gold miners ETF, but with an expense ratio of 0.53%, GDX could be vulnerable to some competition from RING.
Finally, the iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners Fund (NYSE: SLVP) will also debut on Thursday. That ETF will also feature an expense ratio of 0.39% and track an index of 30 stocks. While the weightings are different, over half of SLVP's top-10 holdings are the same as what's found among the top-10 constituents of the Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE: SIL). SIL has a much higher expense ratio of 0.65%, but with $361.3 million in assets under management, the Global X offering has a deep first-to-market advantage.
Last week, iShares launched seven new ETFs including four that will be direct rivals to currently existing funds. Prior to that, the firm unveiled three new funds on January 12.
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