From the December 2006 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

Van Eck Launches Sector Funds

From trash collection to steel production, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have it covered, thanks to two specialized sector funds from Van Eck Associates.

Van Eck's Market Vectors Environmental Services ETF (Amex: EVX) shadows the Amex Environmental Services index (AXENV), which contains the stocks of 24 companies that focus on waste management and other environmental services. Top holdings in the index are American Ecology, Republic Services and Waste Management Inc.

Commenting on recent performance of the group, Adam Phillips, director of ETF sales at Van Eck Global, said, "The environmental services industry has shown strong revenue growth in the past five years as people worldwide have grown increasingly concerned about environmental matters." Moving forward, he says, "We also believe investors are becoming more familiar with this relatively young industry and developing a greater appreciation for its investment opportunities and potential."

The Market Vectors Steel ETF (Amex: SLX) follows the Amex Steel index (STEEL), which holds the stocks of 39 companies involved in steel manufacturing, mill operation or the extraction and reduction of iron ore. Among the index's highest-weighted components are domestic steel manufacturers such as Allegheny Technologies, Nucor and United States Steel. International exposure to important international steel producers like Mittal Steel and South Korea's POSCO is also included.

According to the prospectus, both ETFs carry expense ratios of 0.55 percent and allow trading in underlying options.

Back in May, Van Eck debuted its first ETF product, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (Amex: GDX). The fund tracks publicly traded mining companies and had attracted assets of approximately $260 million through mid-October.

Van Eck Associates was founded in 1955 and focuses its expertise on emerging markets, precious metals and other specialized asset classes. As of September 30, the New York-based investment firm managed $3.8 billion.

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