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Top 10 Global Real Estate ETFs

Our goal in this profile is to help investors wade through the many competing ETF offerings available. Using our long experience as an ETF publication, and nearly 40 years in the investment business, we can help select those ETFs that matter and may or may not be repetitive. The result is a more manageable list of issues from which to view and make selections.

There is currently an expanding list of nearly a dozen ETFs oriented to primarily to global REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) with more on the way no doubt. In the following analysis we stick with our top ten themes while mentioning, where applicable, other choices. Given the limited choices anyway it represents the ETFs available.

One caution for this list is many of the ETFs in the list are new and/or have low AUM (Assets under Management). This is a caution most investors should heed. While issuers in the list are substantial there's nothing to say an ETF won't fail or be rolled in with another if it becomes unprofitable. For most ETFs this means AUM over $25M at some point.

We're not ranking these ETFs favoring one over another so don't let the listing order mislead you. Although we may use some of these in ETF Digest portfolios it's not our intention to recommend one over another.

ETFs are based on indexes tied to well-known index providers including Russell, S&P, Barclays, MSCI, Dow Jones and so forth.

Where competitive issues exist and/or repetitive issues available at a fee cost saving we mention those as other choices.

REITs remain popular with investors seeking greater dividends and income although many current yields remain historically low perhaps misleading some investors expecting more. Further, some with higher dividends feature return of principal which should also be evaluated.

We feature a technical view of conditions from monthly chart views . Simplistically, we recommend longer-term investors stay on the right side of the 12 month simple moving average. When prices are above the moving average, stay long, and when below remain in cash or short. Premium members to the ETF Digest receive added signals when markets become extended such as DeMark triggers to exit overbought/oversold conditions.

RWX (SPDR DJ International Real Estate ETF) follows the Dow Jones Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Securities Index which covers REITs and real estate markets in developed and emerging market countries. The fund was launched in December 2006. The expense ratio is .59%. AUM (Assets under Management) equal $2.3 billion and average daily trading volume is over 458K shares. As of early November 2011 the annual dividend was $3.53 making the current yield 9.90% and YTD return -7.98%.

Data as of November 2011

RWX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Unibail-Rodamco SE (UL): 6.83%
  2. Westfield Group (WDC): 6.45%
  3. Brookfield Asset Management, Inc. (BAM): 6.03%
  4. Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (8801): 5.55%
  5. Land Securities Group PLC (LAND): 3.14%
  6. Hang Lung Properties Ltd. (00101): 3.06%
  7. Westfield Retail Trust (WRT): 2.90%
  8. Link Real Estate Investment Trust (00823): 2.87%
  9. Dz Bk Ag ([Wts/Rts]): 2.71%
  10. Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd. (H78): 2.44%

IFGL (iShares FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed ETF) follows the FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Real Estate ex-U.S. Index which follows REITs listed in markets outside the U.S. The fund was launched in November 2007. The expense ratio is .48%. AUM equal $358 million and average daily trading volume is 54K shares. As of early November 2011 the annual dividend was $1.08 making the current yield 7.00 and YTD return -7.92%.

Data as of November 2011

IFGL Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Sun Hung Kai Properties, Ltd. (00016): 6.25%
  2. Westfield Group (WDC): 4.41%
  3. Unibail-Rodamco SE (UL): 4.31%
  4. Mitsubishi Estate (8802): 3.88%
  5. Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (8801): 3.49%
  6. Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., Ltd. (8830): 2.38%
  7. Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd. (H78): 2.18%
  8. Land Securities Group PLC (LAND): 2.01%
  9. Westfield Retail Trust (WRT): 1.94%
  10. Hang Lung Properties Ltd. (00101): 1.93%

RWO (SPDR DJ Global Real Estate ETF) follows the Dow Jones Global Select Real Estate Securities Index which is a float-adjusted market capitalization index measuring securities in developed and emerging market countries. The fund was launched in May 2008. The expense ratio is .50%. AUM equal $319 million and average daily trading volume is 107K shares. As of early November 2011 the annual dividend was $.2.66 making the current yield 7.26% and YTD return of -6.73%.

Data as of November 2011

RWO Top Ten Holdings & Weightings
  1. Simon Property Group Inc (SPG): 6.17%
  2. Unibail-Rodamco SE (UL): 3.02%
  3. Public Storage (PSA): 2.99%
  4. Westfield Group (WDC): 2.85%
  5. Equity Residential (EQR): 2.84%
  6. Brookfield Asset Management, Inc. (BAM): 2.66%
  7. HCP Inc (HCP): 2.65%
  8. Vornado Realty Trust Shs of Benef Int (VNO): 2.50%
  9. Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd. (8801): 2.45%
  10. Ventas Inc (VTR): 2.39%

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