Two of the first exchange-traded funds based on pan-European indices were launched last week by Barclays Global Investors of San Francisco, said Kerry Steele, a company spokesperson.
The iShares S&P Europe 350 and the iShares MSCI EMU (European Monetary Union) offer portfolios of Europe's largest companies, Steele said. Both are unlike any of the 18 other iShares that are based on foreign country index portfolios because they are not country specific, said Steele.
The 20 iShares MSCI Index Funds, formerly known as World Equity Benchmarks (WEBS), track the indexes of Morgan Stanley Capital International.
They are also unique because they allow individual investors to diversify their foreign investments with one fund, said Lee Kranefuss, CEO of Barclays' individual investor business.
The funds were launched with eight other exchange-traded funds with portfolios that track different securities listed on the S&P 500 and Russell 3000 and 2000 indices.