NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Despite persistent economic and political challenges facing regions of the globe such as Europe and Egypt, the markets have gotten off to a promising start in 2011.
Amidst this strength, mega-cap companies, in particular, have fallen into focus. Although they are typically heralded for their stability through any type market conditions, the companies considered to be the world's largest have carved out some of the most staggering gains of all style categories.
The impressive strength of mega-cap companies is attractive and promising for conservative investors who have long relied on these quality firms to ensure portfolio stability over the long run. Interestingly, although they rank as the most influential players within the business world, finding a way to gain pure play access to industry leaders can be a tricky task. Currently, only a small number of funds are available which specifically to target these goliaths.
Many broad-based domestic and internationally-focused ETFs such as the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ) are dominated by market leaders such as Apple (AAPL), Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR). However, upon digging into these funds' respective portfolios, smaller names show up as well. While the inclusion of these firms provides instant diversification, ensures that the fund properly represents the target nation's total market, and can even provide a welcomed pop, they leave something to be desired for style-focused investors looking specifically for mega caps. True mega-cap purists should instead turn to the iShares S&P Global 100 Index Fund (IOO) and the iShares S&P Asia 50 Index Fund (AIA). By combining these two funds, investors can not only gain exposure to a wide range of market giants, but also do so from a global perspective. IOO's index is designed to focus solely on the largest names in the business world. The fund is headlined by companies including Exxon Mobil (XOM), General Electric (GE), Microsoft (MSFT), International Business Machines (IBM) and HSBC (HBC). In total, the fund's top 10 positions represent slightly over a quarter of its index. Interestingly, although its name implies an expansive global reach, the vast majority of IOO's portfolio is heavily dedicated to the biggest names from the West. The United States and Europe command the largest slices of the fund's index, accounting for 90% of the fund's geographic breakdown.
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