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TheStreet Open House

ETFs Take Aim at Forgotten India

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Clear hurdles persist, but as we approach the end of 2011 and prepare for the new year, it may be time to start looking at the forgotten BRIC, India.

It has been a trying year for the Indian marketplace as issues such as inflation and corruption have weighed heavily on performance and led many to question the strength of the emerging economic growth engine.

Investors were reminded of the challenges facing India at the start of the week when the nation reported that inflation remained above 9% for the eleventh consecutive month.

The nation's disturbing inflation report has raised alarm. However, there have also been some glimmers of promise to come from India recently. For example, tensions between India and Pakistan appear to have eased. Officials from both nations are in the process of constructing a plan aimed towards improving trade ties.

In addition, although the nation has faced a great deal of challenges on the economic front in recent months, not everyone shares a bleak outlook. The Economic Times reports that panelists speaking at the World Economic Forum's India summit have expressed confidence in the nation's ability to stick to a path of economic growth.

Due to their dedicated focus towards India's marketplace, ETFs like the WisdomTree India Earnings ETF (EPI), PowerShares India Portfolio (PIN) and Market Vectors India Small Cap Index ETF (SCIF) are the most obvious choices for bullish investors looking to target this emerging nation. However, given the nation's shaky performance throughout much of the past year and the challenges it will likely face on the road ahead, these funds are not the best options for investors.

A better way for bullish investors to capture exposure to India at this time is through a geographically-diversified product.

BRIC region funds, for instance, are more-stable options for those looking to gain access to India's marketplace at this time. By spreading assets across a number of nations, the inherent risks associated with India's markets can be mitigated.

Unfortunately, as we can see from looking at the geographic breakdowns of popular BRIC-focused funds like the iShares MSCI BRIC Index Fund (BKF), finding substantial exposure to India can be a challenging task. Oftentimes nations like Brazil and China command the lion's share of the assets. India, meanwhile, is cast to the sidelines, accounting for only a minor slice of the index. In BKF, for example, the nation represents only 15.5% of the index.

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