Today, over 1,000 funds are available which allow investors to tap into a vast array of market slices including the transportation sector, Canadian energy players, and the global smartphone industry. The popularity of these products has taken off, with total assets breaching the $1 trillion mark in late 2010.
The story of the ETF industry's expansion has been one of investor demand. As individuals have sought to expand their investment horizons and tap into new corners of the marketplace, State Street (STT), BlackRock (BLK), Vanguard and a slew of other fund sponsors have stepped up to the task, offering funds which allow them to easily achieve their desired investment goals.
In an effort to provide investors with new and attractive products, some companies have revisited previously explored regions of the marketplace, creating funds which cut a well-known sector into increasingly thinner slices.Earlier this week, Global X unveiled its newest product, the Global X Pure Gold Miners ETF (GGGG). Gold miners are far from an untapped region of the market. On the contrary, with the launch of GGGG, investors now have four separate products aimed at satisfying investor demand for gold producers. Market Vectors became the first company to launch a product that targets the gold miners when, in 2006, they unveiled the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which has proven to be wildly popular among investors, growing to over $6 billion in assets. Like GDX, GGGG provides investors with exposure to a basket of large, liquid gold miners. However, according to the fund's fact sheet, GGGG's underlying index, the Solactive Global Pure Gold Miners Index, focuses specifically on producers which, "generate the vast majority of their business from gold mining." By comparing the inner workings of these funds, it is possible to highlight some of the areas where the two differ. Although both funds track approximately 30 companies, the top ten holdings include a number of variations. Barrick Gold (ABX) and Silver Wheaton (SLW), two of GDX's largest holdings are noticeably absent from GGGG's index. On the other hand, GGGG lists companies such as Ployus Gold and Osisko Mining among its top 10 positions In GDX they are nowhere to be found.
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