iShares Launches 5 Commodities ETFs

February 02, 2012

iShares gets granular with launch of five equities-based ETFs focused on different commodities.

iShares launched five separate equity ETFs today focused on commodities, in the latest sign the world’s biggest exchange-traded fund firm is willing to compete by rolling out increasingly granular investment strategies.

With the new commodities-focused equities ETFs, iShares is offering exposure to almost the whole world of natural resources, including industrial metals, precious metals, agriculture and energy. The new funds are part of a push among ETF firms to serve up different types of commodities funds related to rising global demand for everything from oil to copper to corn and even gold.

The five funds and their expense ratios are:


Apart from commodities-focused equities ETFs such as the funds iShares launched today, the other commodities-related options available to investors include physically backed funds such as the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) and futures-based ETFs such as the United States Copper Index Fund (NYSEArca: CPER) that launched in November.

Investors favor different commodities for a variety of reasons. Some, such as gold and silver, are seen as a flight-to-safety investment. Other commodities, like industrial metals and agricultural products, are in high demand, particularly from developing nations.

One advantage of equities ETFs like the five that iShares has in the works is that companies—unlike gold ingots and futures contracts—often pay dividends.

All five new iShares funds utilize representative sampling strategies, meaning they don’t seek to own all the companies in the MSCI indexes they track.

They also are broad-based funds that provide diversification by including stocks in a wide variety of regions and countries, both developed and developing.

The planned iShares MSCI Global Select & Mining Producers Fund, for example, follows an MSCI index that consists of companies in 36 countries, again both in developed and emerging markets. Also, the iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners Fund invests in equity companies involved in silver mining in Canada, Hong Kong, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States.


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