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First Trust ETF Takes Infrastructure Global

No, you are not experiencing deja vu. Yet another infrastructure-related exchange-traded fund has been listed. As its name implies, the First Trust ISE Global Engineering and Construction Index Fund (FLM) tracks an index maintained by the International Securities Exchange, or ISE.

The index targets all the types of infrastructure project you would expect, such as "utilities, transportation, telecommunications, commercial, residential and commerce facilities." The specific companies included in FLM's portfolio perform the "engineering, designing, planning, consulting, project managing and/or constructing of these projects."

Similar to the PowerShares Emerging Market Infrastructure Portfolio (PXR), FLM will be very cyclical, and the types of projects underlying the revenue streams of the component holdings will rely on funding being available for projects.

Infrastructure is important on two levels. Emerging markets looking to build first-generation infrastructure create demand as do established countries like the U.S., whose infrastructure is in desperate need of updating. All told, such infrastructure costs could run into the trillions of dollars. There is no debate as to whether this is needed, but the near-term availability of funding is in question. It makes sense to expect that in terms of the big picture it could be a while before the fund lives up to the back-test results from 2004-06.

FLM is a global fund; the U.S. is the portfolio's largest country weight at 24.49%, followed by Japan at 21.57% and then several countries from Western Europe with mid-single-digit weightings. The fund does a good job at minimizing single-stock risk. The largest holding is Vinci SA from France, with only a 3.11% weight in the fund. FLM will have a 0.70% expense ratio.

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