Many of you are probably familiar with the “Nifty Fifty” U.S. stocks of the 1960s and 1970s that were often touted as the only stocks you will ever need. While that terminology is nearly extinct here in the U.S., it is considered “modern day” in India. The S&P CRISIL NSE Index 50, or S&P CNX Nifty, is often referred to as simply Nifty (National Stock Exchange of India 50), and is arguably the most well known index of Indian stocks.

Last Friday (11/20/09), the iShares S&P India Nifty 50 Index Fund (INDY) began trading on the Nasdaq. INDY is the fourth exchange traded product (ETFs and ETNs) to track Indian equities, but it is the first to follow the Nifty.

As its name implies, the fund has 50 holdings. INDY has a 0.89% expense ratio. The five largest holdings are Reliance Industries Ltd. 12.7%, Infosys Technologies Ltd. 7.9%, ICICI Bank Ltd. 6.9%, Larsen & Toubro Ltd. 6.7%, and Housing Development Finance 4.9%.

Cuurent top sector and industry weightings include banks 17.1%, refineries 13.2%, computer-software 12.1%, engineering 6.7%, and steel & steel products 5.0%. Additional information can be found in the Overview and the Fact Sheet.

The three existing competitive products are:

  • PowerShares India Portfolio (PIN) (PIN overview) is based on the Indus India Index, has 50 holdings, and has an expense ratio of 0.78%.
  • WisdomTree India Earnings (EPI) (EPI details) is based on an earnings-weighted index with 125 holdings and has expenses capped at 0.88% through March 2010.
  • iPath MSCI India Index ETN (INP) (INP overview) is based on the MSCI India Total Return Index (which has 59 constituents) and has an expense ratio of approximately 0.89%.