Reflecting this nation's dominance in global the shipping industry, Greece accounts for the single largest geographic chunk of SEA, with 18.5% of the fund's portfolio. The U.S., Bermuda and Japan are next, at 12.3%, 10.3%, and 10.2% of assets, respectively.
So far, investor interest in SEA has been strong. The fund currently changes hands more than 80,000 times each day, making it adequately liquid for most investors.
Looking to the near and long term future, the forecast for SEA's performance is questionable. Obviously, the fund's heavy exposure to Greece will pose a threat to the fund's future stability as Europe remains embattled in its debt crisis.
Additionally, the recent dismal performance from the Baltic Dry Index may leave some investors concerned about the shipping industry's prospects. The Baltic Dry Index tracks the average shipping rates for dry goods and is typically viewed as a leading macro indicator. Last week, an increase in the supply of vessels and weaker demand caused the index to take a nosedive, suffering its biggest loss since 2008.
With the return of SEA, investors once again have the opportunity to track the performance of the maritime industry from a pure play perspective. The fund's future, however, ultimately depends on the global economy's ability to maintain its footing on the road to recovery.
-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.