iShares, the largest provider of ETFs in the world, announced today the latest enhancement to the international component of its ETF platform, rolling out nine new ex-U.S. sector ETFs. The funds will offer investors exposure to both developed and emerging markets, and all nine will feature an expense ratio of 0.48%. The additions give the company 205 ETFs in total, more than the next two largest competitors combined [also see iShares Records Two Big Milestones].
“We are expanding our international sector offering with the iShares MSCI ACWI ex US sector funds because as financial advisors increasingly fine tune their clients’ international exposure and institutional investors become more tactical internationally, we can make it easier for them to access the markets more efficiently,” said Noel Archard, Head of iShares Product Research and Development at BlackRock. “The new iShares funds are also a great complement to iShares MSCI-based international product set. The consistency of the indices and the iShares funds facilitates the effective building and managing of international portfolios.”
The funds represent a new twist on sector-specific investing strategies. There are already a number of funds offering exposure to various corners of the U.S. economy, most notably State Street’s SPDRs. And while there are also a number of global sector-specific ETFs on the market, most of these products maintain a heavy tilt towards U.S. equities as well.
The new iShares ETFs will be filling a void in the ETF coverage map, and will also create the potential for investors to make some interesting pairs trades with ETFs by going long a U.S. sector fund and short the related ex-U.S. sector fund (or vice versa) [see Three Market Neutral ETF Ideas].
The new funds are:
- MSCI ACWI ex US Consumer Discretionary Sector Index Fund (AXDI)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Consumer Staples Sector Index Fund (AXSL)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Energy Sector Index Fund (AXEN)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Health Care Sector Index Fund (AXHE)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Industrials Sector Index Fund (AXID)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Information Technology Sector Index Fund (AXIT)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Materials Sector Index Fund (AXMT)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Telecommunication Services Sector Index Fund (AXTE)
- MSCI ACWI ex US Utilities Sector Index Fund (AXUT)
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.