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Australia, Canada Small-Cap ETFs Launch

Stocks in this article: KROO CNDA

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The IndexIQ Australia Small Cap ETF (KROO) and the IndexIQ Canada Small Cap ETF (CNDA) are two exchange-traded funds likely to find a lot of interest from investors and bring IndexIQ their first hits in the ETF arena.

With nearly 1,000 products currently trading, making a lasting impression in the ETF realm has become a difficult task. This is especially true for the various small providers that must compete with titans like State Street (STT), iShares and Vanguard which have a substantial lead when it comes to total ETF assets.

IndexIQ is one small issuer that has attempted to dig its own niche in the industry by launching a collection of ETFs which employ alternative and actively managed strategies. These instruments include the IndexIQ ARB Merger Arbitrage ETF (MNA), the IndexIQ Inflation Hedged ETF (CPI) and the IndexIQ ARB Global Resources ETF (GRES).

Though the products and their unique investing strategies have managed to grab headlines, unfortunately the same can't be said for investor interest. Together, the combined average daily trading volume of these three complex funds fails to break 20,000.

This week, however, the company debuted a pair of more mainstream funds, a move that could end up putting this small firm on the map.

IndexIQ Tuesday unveiled the IndexIQ Australia Small Cap and the IndexIQ Canada Small Cap ETF. Unlike their previous offerings, these new funds utilize passive indexing methodologies to provide investors access to new regions of the market.

KROO, like it large-cap cousin, the iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (EWA), is designed to track the broad Australian economy. However, because the fund seeks to do so from a small-cap perspective, a number of differences become instantly clear, most notably in the funds' diversification.

EWA is dominated by Australia's banks and iron ore producers. Looking at the fund's sector outline, 45% and 25% of the fund's portfolio is dedicated to the financial and materials industries, respectively. Additionally, the fund is particularly top-heavy. BHP Billiton (BHP), the fund's number one holding, accounts for 15% of the index.

KROO's index trumps that of EWA when it comes to diversification thanks to its more evenly weighted index. Though, like EWA, a quarter of the portfolio's assets are weighted in the materials sector, the fund's top miner, Aquarius Platinum , makes up less than 2% of the fund's total portfolio.

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