…And The NETS Keep Coming

May 27, 2008

The latest NETS track the Israeli and Portuguese stock markets.

Two more of Northern Trust's NETS exchange-traded funds launched on Tuesday. The NETS TA-25 Index Fund (NYSE Arca: TAV) tracks the flagship index of Israel's Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange; the index includes the largest 25 stocks by market capitalization. The NETS PSI-20 Index Fund (NYSE Arca: LIS) is tied to the Euronext Lisbon exchange's index of the largest and most liquid stocks trading on its main market.

There is no other U.S.-listed ETF tracking the Portuguese market; in this case, rather than offering an alternative to the somewhat monopolistic iShares country ETFs, the NETS product is the only alternative. Of course, there is the question of how many investors will be lining up to invest in Portugal, which is a small market that does not normally receive a lot of attention from investors or the media (although this may be part of its appeal, too). LIS charges an expense ratio of 0.47%.

TAV, however, is not the first of its kind. The iShares complex already offers the competing iShares MSCI Israel Capped Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE Arca: EIS), which charges 0.68%. In a departure for the NETS family, TAV is actually more expensive than its corresponding iShares ETF: It charges 0.70%. EIS was only launched in late March, so it hasn't had time to gain much of a foothold - Northern Trust may be looking to compete with it more on the basis of the underlying index than on price.

There are currently 14 NETS listed on either the NYSE or the American Stock Exchange. The NETS ISEQ 20 Index Fund, tied to the Irish stock market's blue-chip index, is supposed to be the next to launch, on or around June 18, according to the NETS prospectus.

Read the prospectus for the NETS ETFs here.

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