From the January 2009 issue of Research Magazine • Subscribe!

January 1, 2009

Tracking Rubles, Real Estate

Rydex Investments added the Russian ruble (XRU) to its lineup of CurrencyShares. The ruble is the official currency of the Russian Federation (Russia) and related territories and the currency of the accounts of Russia's central bank. XRU can be used to capitalize on interest rate differentials or currency movements relative to the U.S. dollar.

Russia's RTX index has shed over 70 percent this year. Investors can gain exposure to Russian equities via the MarketVectors Russia ETF (RSX).

In another development, RevenueShares added to its growing roster of ETFs by launching the RevenueShares ADR Fund (RTR), which will focus on international stocks.

The fund's underlying index contains non-U.S. companies that are part of the S&P Global 1200. Companies within the index are selected passively and rebalanced annually.

Instead of weighting stocks in a traditional manner by market capitalization, RTR weights stocks by their annual revenue, which is a fundamental measure.

"The RevenueShares ADR Fund is being launched to meet the demand from investors that seek a diversified international ETF with the upside of a revenue-weighting," says Sean O'Hara, president of RevenueShares Investor Services. "Relying on an ADR index gives investors the clarity, transparency and standardization that many international funds cannot claim. The Fund combines the advantages of ADR investing with the benefits of the ranking of an S&P Index by revenue."

RTR goes head-to-head with larger rivals like the $26 billion iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA). The fund's annual expense ratio is 0.49 percent.

O'Hara notes the S&P ADR Index adds more diversification than funds that track the MSCI EAFE Index, which only includes Europe, Australasia, and the Far East. The RevenueShares ADR Fund will include those regions as well as Canada, Mexico and South America.

Also, Invesco PowerShares debuted the PowerShares Active U.S. Real Estate Fund (PST). The fund is an actively managed real estate ETF that selects real estate stocks from the FTSE NAREIT Equity REITs Index.

After beginning 2008 on a positive note, the value of REITs (RWR) has deteriorated by almost 60 percent since the beginning of the year. Joe V. Rodriguez Jr., is the new fund's portfolio manager, and its annual expense ratio is 0.80 percent.

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Ron DeLegge is the San Diego-based editor of www.etfguide.com.

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