NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As the Dow and S&P 500 slumped last decade, emerging markets boomed.
Now as we start a new decade, iShares has started selling two emerging-market sector exchange traded funds, the iShares MSCI Emerging Market Financial Sector Index Fund (EMFN) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Market Materials Sector Index Fund (EMMT). It's a way to buy into those industries' growth as Brazil, China and other developing countries rise in wealth and stature.
That said, the iShares ETFs are similar to those recently issued by EG Shares, the EG Shares Dow Jones Emerging Markets Financials Titans Index (EFN) and the EG Shares Dow Jones Emerging Markets Metals & Mining Titans Index Fund (EMT).
Despite tracking different indexes, the ETFs own the same mega-cap or blue-chip names. Both are heavy in Brazil and China, and, in the case of the two materials funds, South Africa. The big difference is that the MSCI methodology underlying iShares also takes in South Korea, with the financial fund having a 10% exposure and the materials fund 12%.The two financial funds have six of their top 10s in common, including Itau Unibanco Holding (ITUB) from Brazil and China Life Insurance (LFC). The materials funds also overlap with names like Vale (VALE) from Brazil, Impala Platinum Holdings (IMPUY) from South Africa and Norilsk Nickel (NILSY) from Russia. The iShares ETF, by virtue of being able to own South Korea, allocates 6.5% to Posco (PKX), the mega-cap steel producer. One quirk in the iShares funds, reflected in the iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ), is that it owns both the common and the preferred issues of Vale, which accounts for 18% of the fund. The preferred stock is just as volatile as the common, so a misstep by the company would hurt the iShares fund far more than the EG Shares fund.
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