NEW YORK - Exchange-traded funds, funds that invest a majority of their portfolios in a variety of stock market indexes, pose a serious challenge to closed-end equity funds, according to some industry analysts.

Exchange-traded funds, also known as spiders or webs, have advantages that closed-end funds do not, said Donald Cassidy senior analyst at Lipper of Summit, N.J. One of the key advantages is that they trade at 100 percent of net asset value while closed-end funds are traded at discount, he said. Cassidy spoke at a closed-end fund conference here that was sponsored by International Business Communications of Southborough, Mass.

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