Northern Trust continues apace with its exchange traded fund (ETF) launches with three new launches this week, this time covering China, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The funds are:

  • NETS Hang Seng China Enterprises Index Fund (SNO)
  • NETS BEL 20 Index Fund (BRU)
  • NETS AEX-Index Fund (AEX)

SNO’s underlying index covers the "H" shares, which are shares of companies based in mainland China that are listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, reports Heather Bell for Index Universe. China’s markets are largely closed to foreign investment, and "H" shares are way for for investors to access the economy. The expense ratio is 0.51%.

Analysts feel that the long-term impact of China’s recent devastating quake should be minimal, and that the country’s rapid economic growth should continue once the damage is repaired. Excluding the loss in terms of future output, Chinese companies have suffered $9.5 billion in damages.

BRU tracks Belgium’s blue-chip index of the 20 largest stocks on the Euronext Brussels exchange, and its expense ratio is 0.47%. Belgium’s economy ministry predicted today that the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slow to 1.7% this year, reports Antonia Vandevelde for Thomson Financial. The ministry doesn’t expect the figure to grow in 2009, either, but that it does predict that growth will begin again in 2010.

AEX covers Amsterdam’s top 25 blue-chip stocks, and comes with an expense ratio of 0.47%. The economy in the Netherlands depends heavily on foreign trade. There is low unemployment, low inflation and stable industrial relations, according to the CIA World Factbook. After a slowing of the economy in 2005 and 2006, it seems to have righted itself after job growth reached 10-year highs in 2007.

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.