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Spyders Widen Web

Arachnophobes beware: The Spyders are multiplying.

State Street Global Advisors, the investment management arm of State Street (STT), has announced that it's rebranding its exchange-traded funds so they all will carry the popular Spyder brand name.

The rebranding effort began Monday and is expected to be completed this year. All tickers for the ETFs will remain the same.

The first Spyder ETF, which also was the first ETF to hit the market, launched in 1993 and was formally known as the S&P Depositary Receipts S&P 500 Index (SPY). The acronym for S&P Depositary Receipts, SPDR, was the basis for the nickname Spyders, the root of which is the ticker SPY.

State Street later launched several other ETFs under the Spyder brand name, including ETFs that track specific sectors of the market and industries. State Street also has launched ETFs under the brand name streetTracks and was behind the Dow Diamonds (DIA) ETF.

Future ETFs that State Street launches also will be branded Spyders.

James Ross, senior managing director of State Street Global Advisors, says that research into the retail, advisory and institutional spaces found that the Spyder brand name "really stands out on its own" as a quality brand.

"I think it helps to differentiate products in the marketplace, in particular a marketplace that is getting more crowded every day," he says.

Ross declined to make any predictions about how the rebranding could affect State Street's ETF assets -- at the end of 2006, the company had $101.88 billion in ETF assets. However, he says the biggest impact likley will be in the retail and advisory channels, as they will be able to better identify the suite of products with the brand.

Ross adds that he expects the rebranding to have an immediate impact on investor awareness, particularly because the company also has launched a large campaign to promote Spyders.

In addition to renaming many of its ETFs, State Street also rebranded its Spyders Web site , introduced a new logo -- which as you probably guessed is a spider -- and began a major ad campaign based on the slogan "Precise in a world that isn't." The commercials began airing last week.

Tony Rochte, head of U.S. intermediary sales and client service at State Street Global Advisors, says: "The new brand platform centers around the concept of precision in two ways. ... First, the suggestion of SPDR product's purity, and second, what investors look for in an investment: a vehicle that helps them to precisely match their investment strategy."

The Giant Spyder Invasion
The following ETFs began trading under new names Monday
Former Name New Name Ticker
streetTRACKS Dow Jones Global Titans ETF SPDR DJ Global Titans ETF DGT
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Large Cap ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Large Cap ETF ELR
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Large Cap Growth ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Large Cap Growth ETF ELG
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Large Cap Value ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Large Cap Value ETF ELV
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Mid Cap ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Mid Cap ETF EMM
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Mid Cap Growth ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Mid Cap Growth ETF EMG
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Mid Cap Value ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Mid Cap Value ETF EMV
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Small Cap ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Small Cap ETF DSC
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Small Cap Growth ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Small Cap Growth ETF DSG
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Small Cap Value ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Small Cap Value ETF DSV
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire Total Market ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire Total Market ETF TMW
SPDR Dividend ETF SPDR S&P® Dividend ETF SDY
SPDR Homebuilders ETF SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF XHB
SPDR Biotech ETF SPDR S&P Biotech ETF XBI
SPDR Metals and Mining ETF SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF XME
SPDR Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF XES
SPDR Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF XOP
SPDR Pharmaceuticals ETF SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF XPH
SPDR Retail ETF SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT
SPDR Semiconductor ETF SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF XSD
streetTRACKS Russell/Nomura PRIME Japan ETF SPDR Russell/Nomura PRIME™ Japan ETF JPP
streetTRACKS Russell/Nomura Small Cap Japan ETF SPDR Russell/Nomura Small Cap™ Japan ETF JSC
streetTRACKS DJ Wilshire International Real Estate ETF SPDR DJ Wilshire International Real Estate ETF RWX
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings

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