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New ETFs for Plain Vanilla Investors

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As evidenced by February's ETF flows, droves of investors have been piling into plain vanilla exchange traded funds. Given this preference, Claymore could not have picked a better time to launch its family of Wilshire 5000-focused exchange traded funds.

On Tuesday, the company launched three funds designed to track different slices of the Wilshire 5000 Index: the Claymore Wilshire 5000 Total Market ETF (WFVK), the Claymore Wilshire 4500 Completion ETF (WXSP), and the Claymore Wilshire U.S. REIT ETF (WREI).

Broad-based funds such as these are a throwback to the roots of the exchange traded fund industry. Today, ETF investors can track everything from TIPS to biotech to natural gas, but the very first exchange traded fund was designed as a simple catch-all for investors looking for cheap exposure to the broad S&P 500.

Broad index funds like the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), the PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ), and the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA) remain some of the largest, most liquid instruments in the industry.

In the past, Claymore has been known for niche products that have provided investors with the first pure plays on unique market slices such as Chinese real estate via the Claymore/AlphaShares China Real Estate ETF (TAO), shipping with the Claymore/Delta Global Shipping Index ETF (SEA), airlines using the Claymore/NYSE Arca Airline ETF (FAA), and solar power with the Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy Index ETF (TAN).

With the launch of three funds to track different slices of the Wilshire index, it appears that the Claymore is making an effort to ride the broad equity index wave.

Established in 1974, the Wilshire 5000 Index, like the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average, is used as a barometer for the U.S. economy. Setting this index apart from the others, however, is the sheer depth of its holdings. Unlike the S&P and Dow, which track a representative sample of U.S. based companies, the Wilshire is a market cap- weighted basket of every stock traded in the United States.

Despite the fact that the index is called the Wilshire 5000, the total number of constituents varies. According to the Claymore Website, the index currently underlying WFVK includes slightly more than 4,000 companies. The product has 1,197 holdings, with top constituents such as Exxon Mobil (XOM), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), Procter & Gamble (PG) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

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