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TheStreet Open House

Building an Emerging Market Portfolio Without BRICs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Brazil relies heavily on demand from China for natural resources and many analysts believe China may be in for a serious economic slowdown. Russia is overly dependent on oil, which would likely go down in the face of China-lead global slowdown. India has a very primitive infrastructure and the population is very poor.

The above is merely a series of bullet points that outline the risks to investing in the BRIC nations which might explain why ETF provider Emerging Global recently launched the Beyond BRICs ETF (BBRC).

Avoiding the four BRIC countries creates the opportunity for the new fund to go much wider than most of the other broad emerging market funds which are dominated in Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa and Mexico are the two largest countries in the fund at around 18%, followed by Malaysia at 15%, Thailand 14% and Indonesia at 12%. Turkey, Chile, Colombia and Poland get very small weightings.

The financial sector is the largest by far at 34%, followed by telecom at 18% and energy at 11%. The tilt to these sectors is consistent with other broad emerging market funds because just about every country has a large bank, telephone company and oil company and these companies are often the largest in their respective home markets.

BBRC has 50 holdings and the EG Shares Web site says that the underlying index yields 3.25% which after accounting for the 0.85% expense ratio means the fund could yield 2.4%. But as is the case with all ETFs, the actual payout is more of a question mark.

One item about the dividend for 2012: the fund just started this month and many foreign stocks pay only once a year and in the spring so it is unlikely that there will be much of a dividend this year.

The first paragraph noted some of the risks associated with the BRIC countries. But there are also risks associated with the countries that feature prominently in BBRC.

The story in South Africa relies heavily on mining of gold and platinum. In the last couple of weeks there have been reports of striking miners clashing with police and being killed at the Marikana mine which is operated by Lonmin.

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