First Trust Advisors today launched an Internet exchange-traded fund on the American Stock Exchange. It tracks the Dow Jones Internet Composite Index.

The index tracks 40 of the largest and most actively traded Internet firms in the U.S. and was established in 1999 as a benchmark to measure companies that generate 50% or more of their revenues from the Internet. To be eligible to be included in the index, a company must have a three-month average market capitalization of at last $100 million.

Twenty-five of the companies are Internet services, while 15 are Internet commerce. The top three Internet services companies in the index currently are VeriSign, Akamai Technologies and BEA Systems, while the top three Internet commerce companies are Google, Yahoo and eBay.

"The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index is one example of the many niche markets we aim to represent with our index families," said Michael A. Petronella, president of Dow Jones Indexes/Ventures. "We designed this index to accurately measure the performance of Internet stocks over the long run -- not merely during the tech boom. First Trust's decision to license this particular benchmark recognizes investor demand for specialized index-based products."

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