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News Roundup: Latest ETF Launches, New Vanguard Online Tools

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From the European Bureau

The iShares FTSE Eurotop 100 began trading yesterday on the London Stock Exchange. The exchange-traded fund, which has an expense ratio of 0.50%, holds the largest 100 companies and protects United Kingdom shareholders from damaging currency transaction costs.

Barclays Global Investors now offers 11 iShares in the UK based on broad domestic and European indexes, as well as domestic sector funds like technology and financials. BGI spokesman John Demaine said that European ETFs have been growing in popularity, noting exponential growth in assets from $675 million to $5.6 billion in 2001.

From the South African Bureau

The JSE Securities Exchange, South Africa's stock market, said it will begin trading two new exchange-traded funds on February 15. The new funds will track the Johannesburg bourse's top 25 listed industrial companies and top 15
financial listed companies.

The broad SATRIX 40, launched in November 2000 with annual expenses of 0.30%, is the only other exchange-traded fund listed in South Africa.

Vanguard beefs up online tools

Valley Forge-based Vanguard Group unveiled new online features designed to aid individual fund shareholders. Vanguard fund investors can use the website to break down their portfolio of funds to determine sector weightings and asset allocation.

Portfolio X-ray tools offered by Morningstar and other websites have become a simple yet effective way to look under the hood and determine stock overlap in funds.

Vanguard's enhanced tools also include personal fund performance reviews, research on Vanguard and other funds, and increased online transaction features.