A new exchange-traded fund tracking the real estate investment trust (REIT) sector, the

Barclays Global Investors'

iSharesSM Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index Fund

, launched on the

American Stock Exchange

Friday.

The fund will track the Cohen & Steers Realty Majors

Portfolio, which invests in many of the leading REITs in the U.S. That fund was formed in April 1998 as a

Merrill Lynch Defined Asset

fund, but is closed to new investors. The Realty Majors fund has had an average annual return of 5.43% from inception until the end of 2000, according to Merrill Lynch's Web site.

The new iShares fund will trade under the ticker symbol

ICF

and have an annual expense ratio of 0.35%.

The launch marks yet another product in BGI's arsenal of iShares exchange-traded funds. BGI now manages 60 iShares and will launch a new product next week called the

iShares Nasdaq Biotech Fund

, which will track companies primarily engaged in biomedical research to develop new treatments and cures for human diseases, says BGI spokesman Tom Taggart.

"Today's launch as well as next week's launch of the iShares Nasdaq Biotech ETF are rounding out the important sectors that investors are interested in," says Taggart.