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BRIC ETFs Get Some New Flavors

Stocks in this article: EEB BKF FNI

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The questionable economic climate in the United States and Europe has lead many internationally-minded investors to avoid the developed world and pile into the emerging markets.

BRIC ETFs are some of the most popular products designed to track emerging nations. These funds provide investors with one stop exposure to Brazil, Russia, China, and India, which are considered four of the most sought after emerging markets today.

In the past year, funds such as iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (BKF) and Guggenhiem BRIC ETF (EEB) have handedly outperformed the S&P 500.

While products such as BKF and EEB provide exposure to the hot developing world, they are not without their shortcomings. Perhaps most notable is the fact that EEB and BKF are far from evenly weighted across the four constituents.

Although they are designed to track all four countries, within both EEB and BKF, China and Brazil command the lion's share of the index while India and Russia are noticeably downplayed.

Investors looking for a less traditional basket of emerging markets may find two BRIC-alternative funds from First Trust more to their liking.

The First Trust ISE Chindia Index Fund (FNI) and First Trust BICK Index (BICK) give investors exposure to new takes on the old BRIC acronym.

In the past month period, FNI and BICK have managed to outperform their traditional BRIC-focused competitors.

FNI is designed to provide investors with concentrated exposure to the second half of the BRIC acronym. Excluding Brazil and Russia, this fund dedicates its entire portfolio to the markets of China and India. According to the fund website, FNI makes a strong effort to divide exposure across the two nations in an equal fashion.

Currently the fund's top positions included ICICI Bank (IBN), Baidu (BIDU), HDFC Bank (HDB), Infosys Technologies (INFY), and China Mobile (CHM). The fund is set up in a tiered structure with these five positions accounting for 36% of its total index.

FNI carries a 0.60% expense ratio, making it less expensive than its BRIC competitors.

Whereas FNI focuses on a concentrated slice of the traditional BRIC index, BICK shakes up the basket by dropping companies hailing from Russia and filling the gap with exposure to South Korean firms.

Similar to FNI, BICK attempts to weight exposure to each nation equally, thereby ensuring that no single country controls the fund's movements.

BICK's top positions include Axis Bank, Wipro (WIT), Larsen and Toubro, HDFC Bank, and Sterlite Industries (SLT). The fund's index is strongly diversified, with its top five positions accounting for less than 10% of its total portfolio.

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