As people in countries from Canada to China benefit from trillions of dollars spent on new roads, communications and water systems, carve out your share with exchange traded funds.

The SPDR FTSE/Macquarie Global Infrastructure 100 ETF ( GII) and the iShares S&P Global Infrastructure Index ( IGF) play into so-called infrastructure spending, which is "still in the very early stages," says James Clary, an analyst for the Kensington Global Infrastructure Fund ( KGIAX). "Going forward, infrastructure is going to be a vital part of how countries will be able to make themselves competitive."

The Macquarie and iShares funds have declined 25% and 30%, respectively, so far this year, which may make them ideal for entry, given that analysts view infrastructure spending a long-term trend. The S&P 500, in comparison, has dropped about 24 percent. Top holdings include Dominion Resources ( D), Duke Energy ( DUK), El Paso ( EP), Exelon ( EXC) and TransCanada ( TRP).

Steady returns

Connie Luecke, a co-portfolio manager for the Virtus Global Infrastructure Fund ( PGUAX), says "there is an attractive risk-return profile for the sector right now."

Luecke said infrastructure investing tends to perform relatively well in up and down markets. "Infrastructure plays have proven to be defensive because cash flows are generally steady," she says. "While there is some weakness in the market right now, there is a lot of room for growth in infrastructure over the next couple of years."

In addition to pressing needs for infrastructure spending globally, low volatility is another key draw. "Infrastructure is an asset class that offers a low correlation to other classes," says Randle Smith, also a co-portfolio manager for the Virtus Fund. "It gives you inflation protection and stable returns."

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