To capitalize on China's powerhouse economy, Wall Street has introduced two exchange-traded funds that bundle Chinese stocks into one easy-to-trade security. The problem is differentiating between the two, the iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI) and the Golden Dragon Halter USX China Portfolio (PGI).
These ETFs have a lot in common. Four of their top 10 holdings are the same, including China Mobile Communications and PetroChina (PTR). And both are concentrated, with iShares holding just 25 stocks and Golden Dragon 43.
Dig deeper, though, and differences emerge. Golden Dragon focuses on the companies' American depositary receipts, which trade in the U.S. and so have to meet U.S. accounting and disclosure standards. iShares is skewed toward Hong Kong-listed companies, which don't have to follow the same rules.
Golden Dragon has the lower expense ratio, 0.6%, vs. iShares' 0.74%. Still, Paul Mazzilli, Morgan Stanley's (MWD) director of ETF research, says the iShares fund will be "more popular and liquid," in part because it's run by ETF giant Barclays Global Investors (BCS). Barclays also has the muscle to negotiate bargain trading commissions. That could be enough to overcome Golden Dragon's expense edge.
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You got a gift card for Best Buy (BBY), but you would prefer a book from Borders (BGP). Web sites are cropping up to let you swap, sell, or buy merchant gift cards. Swappers can go to SwapaGift.com or the new cardavenue.com to register cards they own, enter the amount they would sell or trade them for, and see what other cards are listed. What if your card is worth $75, and the one you want is for $100? On SwapaGift.com, you can throw in cash to do the deal. There's a fee, of course: SwapaGift.com charges a flat $3.99; Cardavenue.com, where you can trade or auction off a card, gets 6.25% of card value plus 50 cents on a trade. On auction site eBay you have a lot more choices of cards but no one-on-one swapping. There you pay a listing fee and a minimum of 5.25% of the sale price.