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Look Beyond BRICs for Emerging-Market Investing

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In past articles, we've discussed how investing evolves. Ten years ago the BRIC countries -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- were popular investment destinations, but recently they have not done well.

Early to recognize this development, exchange-traded fund provider Emerging Global Advisors launched the EG Shares Beyond BRICs ETF (BBRC), which invests in emerging-market countries but as the name indicates, excludes the BRIC markets.

When I visited Emerging Global's offices in September. the fund managers shared their belief that frontier market investing will become increasingly important and consistent. And with that opinion, the firm has changed the constituency of its Beyond BRICs fund to take in frontier markets.

The three largest countries in the fund are still South Africa, Mexico and Malaysia -- now accounting for 45% of the fund, compared with 51% when the fund first launched. Thailand declined from 14% of the fund to 6%, and Indonesia has been reduced to 7% from 12%.

The largest frontier markets in the fund are Qatar at 10.2% and Nigeria at 9.4%. Kenya, Sri Lanka and Oman are also included with smaller weightings.

Financials are still the largest sector at 33%, similar to when the fund first launched, and telecom is still the second largest at 18%. It makes sense for these sectors to be the two largest because most countries have at least one big bank and a big phone company.

Consumer staples and discretionary combined make up more than 20% of the fund because Emerging Global believes that internal demand from consumers will be a big driver of returns in emerging markets.

BBRC doesn't take much single stock risk. The largest holding is MTN Group from South Africa at 3.91% of the fund. The largest frontier companies added are Zenith Bank and Nigerian Breweries from Nigeria; Industries Qatar and Qatar National Bank. All four each have close to 3% weightings.

Emerging Global reports that the index underlying the fund has a 3.24% trailing dividend yield, which after accounting for the fund's 0.58% fee could put the actual yield at 2.66%. BBRC pays its dividend annually, and its 2012 payout was only 11 cents, or 0.50%, for a partial year, but its 2013 payout will be a full one.

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