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Van Eck Launches Hard Assets ETF

Van Eck Global this week launched the Market Vectors Hard Asset Producers ETF (HAP) which is based on an index the New York asset manager created with help from international investor Jim Rogers.

Over the last month or so anything having to do with hard assets, the commodities themselves and the companies that mine or produce them, have been crushed. This part of the market has undergone an extreme dislocation that may not have finished playing out yet.

The simple fact that the resource space is down recently doesn't make HAP a good fund or a bad fund. Nor is the timing of the introduction of the fund good or bad. HAP is simply a new way to access this part of the materials space.

The ETF may be better or worse than other materials funds but the fact the group is down has no bearing on the utility of the fund. Anyone who believes in maintaining a diversified portfolio has some exposure to the space. And the fund does make a good first impression.

The methodology of the fund is unique. The fund weights its subsectors (energy 40.3%, agriculture 30.5%, industrial metals 13.3%, precious metals 7.5%, paper and forest 4.3%, and alternatives 4.1%) by how much of each is consumed. By the funds research, 40 cents of every dollar spent on natural resources is spent on energy.

The fund invests the most in the U.S. at 39.2%, with Canada at 14.8%. It also has exposure to many other countries like Brazil, Russia, Norway, Malaysia, South Africa and Japan.
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