NYSE, State Street Race to Offer Exchange-Traded Global Index Funds - TheStreet

Monday, the

New York Stock Exchange

hung a big banner across the front of its historic Broad Street headquarters declaring the launch of the

S&P Global 100

index.

That's a little like putting out your July 4th flag this week.

Share your investing and mutual fund questions on the

Dear Dagen board

The NYSE-traded fund that will track this index isn't expected to launch until the late third quarter or early fourth quarter, according to an S&P spokeswoman. (

Barclays Global Investors

is in discussions to run this index fund.)

Meanwhile,

State Street Global Advisors

is expected to launch a competing product that should beat the NYSE to market.

State Street expects to unveil an exchange-traded fund that tracks the

Dow Jones Global Titans

index early in the second quarter, according to Gus Fleites, the firm's head of exchange-traded products.

The Global Titans fund will be one of nine exchange-traded funds introduced by the Boston-based firm, which operates the

Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts

(SPY) - Get Report

, or Spiders. The others will track four Dow Jones indices, covering large-cap growth, small-cap growth, large-cap value and small-cap value, and as-yet-unnamed indices tracking small-cap stocks, real estate investment trusts, the Internet and technology. These funds will likely trade on the

American Stock Exchange

.

The S&P Global 100 index fund represents the Big Board's first step into this new generation of exchange-traded index portfolios. The fund is also expected to trade on the

Deutsche Boerse

and the

Tokyo Stock Exchange

.

The competing global indices share notable similarities.

As the name indicates, the

S&P Global 100 consists of 100 global companies drawn from the larger

S&P Global 1200

index. The

Dow Jones Global Titans index consists of 50 of the world's largest multinational companies.

You'll find plenty of overlap in the top 10 stocks in each index.

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

,

ExxonMobil

(XOM) - Get Report

and

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

are the top four holdings in each. (Data for the S&P Global 100 are from Dec. 31, while the information on the Global Titans is from Feb. 4.)

In both indices, the top five holdings carry considerable weighting, 20% for the S&P index and close to 30% for the Global Titans index.

"If the top five exceeds 30%, then you would consider the index heavily concentrated, and it might not be as diversified as you want," notes Andrew Whittaker in equity derivatives research at

Lehman Brothers

.

Expenses for both of these index funds have not been disclosed. Those fees will undoubtedly be a deciding factor for potential investors.

Perhaps feeling a little neglected,

FTSE International

, jointly owned by the

Financial Times

and the

London Stock Exchange

, says it wants to have a U.S. mutual fund or exchange-traded fund tracking its

FTSE Global 100

index, which launched last fall.

Maybe investors will simply buy the one that gets here first.

How 2 Buy B2B

Monday's

Dear Dagen offered a short list of mutual funds that invest in B2B, or business-to-business, Internet stocks, via mutual funds. Maybe a little too short.

Readers were not going to let me overlook

Firsthand Fund's

Kevin Landis, who was mentioned in

two columns last week.

"Oops. You missed a fund. Firsthand Funds started its

e-Commerce

fund on Sept. 30, 1999. I think they were practically the first ones out of the gate with a fund devoted specifically to enablers for B2B," writes

Barbara Rubenstein

.

Firsthand's young e-Commerce fund does own some B2B names. But the firm won't narrowly categorize the fund's approach with that buzzword.

The fund invests in "businesses are enabling commerce on the Internet," says Firsthand spokesman Steven Witt. "It's not a cut between B2B and B2C"

business-to-consumer.

The fund does own some stocks that are identified with B2B. At the end of December, the fund owned

VeriSign

(VRSN) - Get Report

, which sells authentication and security services, and

Vignette

(VIGN)

, a maker of content management software.

Since the beginning of the year, the fund is up 5.5% compared with a 3% decline for the

S&P 500

.

Whether this fund is purely B2B or not, it will certainly have its admirers, given Landis' reputation and record.

Readers were also quick to scold me for omitting a stock,

Internet Capital Group

(ICGE)

, from my list of B2B vehicles.

"The biggest, purest-play B2B holding company in the world, Internet Capital Group, would at present seem closest to what your reader wanted," says

Ed Powell

.

Holding company Internet Capital Group does own stakes in more than 50 private and public B2B companies.

That composition does in some way make it look like a mutual fund. But the price of this stock is open to the whims of the market, and the value of its underlying private holdings is difficult to appraise. The price of a mutual fund, on the other hand, is determined by the value of its underlying stocks.

But if you desperately want a B2B play, you can get one here.

Send your questions and comments to

deardagen@thestreet.com, and please include your full name.

Dear Dagen aims to provide general fund information. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell funds or other securities.