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Emerging-Market ETFs to Watch

Stocks in this article: EFA EWJ EEM

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - As the ETF industry expands, with new products tracking increasingly remote regions of the globe, the road has taken some twists and turns.

Thus far, the trend in investor interest has been shifting from developed countries to increasingly narrow emerging market investments.

The iShares MSCI-EAFE ETF (EFA), a fund that tracks established countries in Europe as well as Japan, saw net outflows of $1 billion in 2008 and $4 billion as of Nov. 30, 2009, according to recent data from the National Stock Exchange.

iShares MSCI Japan (EWJ), a more specific, developed market ETF, had net outflows of $1.7 billion of 2008, and is set to have net outflows of at least $1 billion in 2009.

While EFA and EWJ are still among the largest and most liquid ETFs trading today, the trend in international investing has markedly shifted towards broad-based emerging market funds.

According to data from the National Stock Exchange, two out of the top 10 largest ETFs --measured by total assets -- are broad-based emerging market funds .

The larger of the two, the iShares MSCI-Emerging Markets ETF (EEM), was launched in April of 2003, and had $37.3 billion in assets as of Nov. 30, 2009. Vanguard's MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), launched in March of 2005, had more than $17.6 billion in assets as of Nov. 30.

While assets have flowed out of EFA and EWJ, net assets have increased dramatically for EEM and VWO. During 2008, EEM had a net cash flow of $2.3 billion while VWO had a net cash flow of $3.3 billion. Year to date in 2009, EEM's net cash flow has been $4 billion, while VWO has attracted a net cash flow of more than $7.7 billion.

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