NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As the ETF industry becomes more expansive, providers are going to ever greater lengths to produce funds that will generate interest from the broad investing public.
While many funds manage to catch on right from the get-go, many more end up falling by the wayside. Interestingly, some funds that have struggled to gain popularity actually track interesting slices of the broad market. In this piece I will highlight five products which, while illiquid, have caught my attention.
Please note all the funds highlighted below are considered illiquid and therefore potentially subject to greater spreads. Risk tolerant investors looking to try their luck with any of these products listed should keep exposure small and maintain a very close watch on their performance.
Claymore/Sabrient Defensive Equity Index ETF (DEF)With economic concerns stoking fear in the hearts of many investors, investors are increasingly on the prowl for the best way to play defense. While in the past I have highlighted bond funds, gold, and dividend players like iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund (DVY) as ways to combat against economic threats, DEF is another interesting option. This Claymore fund is designed to track the Sabrient Defensive Equity Index. Comprising this index is a number of stocks, ADRs, and master limited partnerships which will aid investors in their attempts to ward off economic headwinds. Top holdings include Tomkins PLC (TKS), Linn Energy (LINE), Oneok Partners (OKS) and Enterprise GP Holdings (EPE) . The fund is diversified; together, these positions represent only 5% of the fund's index. And although it changes hands less than 20,000 times per day, it has still managed to earn five stars from Morningstar (MORN). Aside from providing investors with sanctuary against market downturn, DEF also provides an annual dividend valued at close to 3% and has beat the S&P 500 Index in the past year and year to date. Global X China Technology ETF (CHIB) The smartphone showdown between Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) continues to rage in the United States. However, the outcome may ultimately be decided on which of these companies can holds the crown among the growing population of Chinese mobile users. Launched in late 2009, Global X's CHIB is part of the firm's unique suite of sector-specific China ETFs. Designed to encompass the nation's tech industry, this fund boasts exposure to popular names including Baidu (BIDU), Tencent and Foxconn. Telecom giants including China Unicom (CHU) and China Mobile (CHL) also make appearances among the fund's index. These companies are all well positioned to benefit from the growth of the smartphone and Internet sectors of the Chinese economy.