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ETF Investors Going for Gold

There's gold on Wall Street -- at least for ETF investors.

Traders awoke Thursday to find a new gold-backed security, StreetTracks Gold (GLD), trading on the New York Stock Exchange under symbol GLD.

The exchange-traded fund is sponsored by a unit of the World Gold Council. It enables investors to participate in the gold bullion market, with each share representing one-tenth of an ounce of gold. Boston-based State Street (STT - Get Report) is the marketing agent behind the 2.3-million-share initial public offering.

StreetTracks Gold shares traded recently at $44.22 a share. Spot gold last changed hands at $442.30 an ounce, not far from a fresh multiyear high of $445.90 set on Wednesday.

The StreetTracks Gold ETF is the first of its kind in the U.S. Gold ETFs have already been listed in England, Australia and South Africa. State Street rival Barclays (BCS) is currently awaiting Securities and Exchange Commission approval to launch its own gold ETF on the American Stock Exchange.

Analysts say this morning's successful launch of a gold ETF in the U.S. could open the door for additional ETFs linked to commodities, including oil.

"I expect this to be a blockbuster, because a lot of institutional investors who might not have been mandated to own gold other than mining stocks will finally be able to get directly involved in the gold market," said Michael Porter, ETF analyst with Lipper. "It should definitely pave the way for other commodity-based ETFs."

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