The exchange traded fund (ETF) industry has a new provider. It’s Chicago-based Northern Trust, and the launch of their funds have been anticipated since last winter.

Murray Coleman for Index Universe reports gives the lowdown on the first batch of funds, which will have an expense ratio of 0.47%:

  • NETS FTSE 100 Index Fund (LDN): Invests in the largest companies by market-cap on the London Stock Exchange.
  • NETS S&P/ASX 200 Index Fund (AUS): It will compete against the iShares MSCI Australia (EWA), which is one of the oldest international ETFs around.

Four more ETFs will follow soon:

  • NETS DAX Index Fund (DAX): Tracks the major exchange in Germany.
  • NETS TOPIX Index Fund (TYI): Covers Japan
  • NETS CAC-40 Index Fund (FRC): Tracks France’s market
  • NETS Hang Seng Index und (HKG): Follows stocks in Hong Kong

Missing from the list are Northern Trust’s anticipated entries into the all-world ETF segment, which was recently joined by both Vanguard and iShares.

The timing of the France-focused single country ETF could bring good things, as France’s economy has been holding up well against the international credit crisis. Helen Beresford for Thomson Financial News reports that on the flip side, the GDP growth forecast was cut by the government to between 1.7-2%. The iShares MSCI France (EWQ) is up 8.7% in the last month, although it’s down 5.4% year-to-date.

The German economy has been growing, but it needs to make changes if that growth is going to continue. Paul Carrel for Reuters reports that the German economy needs reform to refresh the labor market and education systems, both vital parts of the country’s economy.  The iShares MSCI Germany (EWG) is up 6.9% in the last month, but it’s down 9% year-to-date.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.