Islamic ETF Is Built for Bull Markets

The JETS Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund ( JVS), an exchange traded fund that follows the spiritual law of Shari'ah, can be appreciated by non-Muslims: About half the fund comprises energy and materials stocks, and financial-services shares are nowhere to be found. When the bull market takes off for real, this ETF is sure to get pulled along.

The fund consists of mega-cap and large-cap companies, including BP ( BP), 4.9%; Novartis ( NVS), 3.3%; and both BHP Billiton listings ( BHP) ( BBL), totaling 4.7%. The JETS Dow Jones Islamic Market International Index Fund is heaviest in energy, 30%; materials, 18%; and health care, 18%.

It's the first exchange traded fund compliant with Shari'ah law. The nature of the rules governing the index are such that there will be very little, and for now there is no, financial-industry exposure. The fund can't own casinos, alcohol, tobacco, pork or weapons producers. And there are debt restrictions.

The country breakdown favors Western Europe and Japan: the U.K., 18%; France 10%; Canada, 10%; Switzerland, 9%; and Japan, 9%. It has a little emerging market exposure with Russia, India and Brazil. The fund has 100 holdings with a median market cap of $20 billion.

The fund makes international indexing available to U.S.-based Islamic investors who wish to comply with Shari'ah law. A press release about the fund noted that there are "over 7 million Muslims in the United States" but no mention of what portion might be investors. So it's possible the target market is quite small.

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