Want exposure to social media? There's an exchange-traded fund for that. How about airlines, hedge funds and frontier markets? There are ETFs for those too. In fact, industry executives say that the next wave of ETF growth will come from a wide variety of relatively new and niche funds holding their own as demand for the easy-to-buy and easy-to-sell funds keeps picking up.

At May 2012 month-end there were 1,465 U.S. listed exchange-traded funds and notes, an increase of 17% compared to 1,254 U.S. listed products at the same time last year. And assets in those ETFs and exchange-traded notes totaled some $1.14 trillion, an increase of 2.7% over May 2011 month-end, when assets totaled $1.11 trillion, according to data from the ETF Industry Association.

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