Global X ASEAN 40 ETF ( ASEA) follows the FTSE/ASEAN 40 Index which measures the 40 largest companies in five ASEAN regions: Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. The fund was launched in February 2011. The expense ratio is .65%. AUM equal $20 million and average daily trading volume is near 25,000 shares. As of late July 2011 the annual dividend is negligible but year-to-date return is 14.20%.

Data as of July 2011

ASEA Top Ten Holdings and Weightings

1. Astra International Tbk: 6.09%

2. DBS Group Holdings, Ltd. (D05): 5.59%

3. Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Z74): 5.57%

4. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd. (O39): 5.26%

5. United Overseas Bank Limited (U11): 5.17%

6. CIMB Group Holdings Berhad: 4.49%

7. Malayan Banking Bhd Maybank: 4.43%

8. Public Bank Berhad: 4.23%

9. Sime Darby Berhad (Malaysia): 3.75%

10. Keppel Corporation Limited (BN4): 3.27%

For the last decade the Asia-Pacific region has offered the best prospects for economic growth and potential investment returns. These markets have been more volatile historically but have seen this become reduced in the past few years as markets have become more developed than previously. Some of this easing of volatility has been due to high degree of correlation of global sectors given high levels of liquidity from low levels of interest rates and easy money policies globally. Nevertheless, with better economic growth inflation fears will rise and authorities have been trying to contain these by increasing interest rates and/or raising reserves.

There is a lot to choose from in terms of indexes linked to ETFs. Some are passive and duplicative relatively. It's essential to remember it remains a game of battleship for sponsors seeking to be first to a sector space or just being competitive in the space. This is their business interest apart which you must separate from your investment interest.

Investors should note that in a rising market particularly ETFs linked to enhanced issues may tend to outperform conventional index linked issues. I've not done enough analysis to determine their relative performance during down market periods as some of these have yet to be tested in this regard.

New ETFs from highly regarded and substantial new providers are also being issued. These may include Charles Schwab's ETFs and Scottrade's Focus Shares which both are issuing new ETFs with low expense ratios and commission free trading at their respective firms. These may also become popular as they become seasoned.

For further information about portfolio structures using this or other ETFs see www.etfdigest.com.

(Source for holding data is from ETF Database and from various sponsors.)
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

Dave Fry is founder and publisher of ETF Digest, Dave's Daily blog and the best-selling book author of Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund, A DIY Strategy for Private Wealth Management, published by Wiley Finance in 2008. A detailed bio is here: Dave Fry.

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