Exchange-traded shares of three Vanguard international index funds will begin trading this morning on the American Stock Exchange.

The new VIPER shares, officials at Vanguard said, will feature expense ratios as low as 0.18%, which are considerably below the expense rations of the 43 international exchange-traded products available today.

The Vanguard European VIPERs will track performance of the MSCI Europe Index, which consists of stocks from 16 European countries. Vanguard Pacific VIPERs will track performance of the MSCI Pacific Index, which is made up of stocks from companies in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Both carry the 0.18% expense ratio.

The third ETF, which is called the Vanguard Emerging Markets VIPER and carries an expense ratio of 0.30%, tracks the MSCI Emerging Markets Select Index and consists of stocks that can be bought free of restrictions in 18 emerging markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The new launches bring the number of Vanguard ETFs to 23 offerings. Vanguard launched its first ETF in 2001, and as of Feb. 28, 2005, its assets totaled nearly $7 billion.

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