SOURCE: Barclays Global Investors

April 11, 2007 09:30 ET

Barclays Global Investors Announces Launch of First High Yield Exchange Traded Fund

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 11, 2007 --Barclays Global Investors (BGI) announced today that the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Fund (ticker: HYG) began trading on the American Stock Exchange. This product launch continues to solidify iShares as a leader and innovator in fixed income ETFs, providing transparency and liquidity to fixed income markets that are esoteric for many investors. BGI now offers 16 different iShares ETF funds that offer exposure to a variety of fixed income markets. The new high yield fund's expense ratio is 0.50%, significantly less than the 1.08% for the average taxable-bond mutual fund(1).

"Fixed income ETFs are an excellent example of how ETFs create a level playing field for all investors. The new iShares Fund offers financial advisors and individual investors the ability to invest in a diversified, transparent portfolio of high yield bonds," said Lee Kranefuss, CEO of BGI's Intermediary and Exchange Traded Funds Business. "The new fund also allows individual investors to see for the first time pricing of a group of high yield bonds, something that was previously only available to institutional investors."

He added, "The iShares High Yield Bond Fund can be a valuable component to an investment portfolio. Financial advisors are looking to generate income for their 'Baby Boomer' clients and to diversify client portfolios. Institutional investors are looking for easier, less costly ways to make market calls. In addition, iShares ETFs can be shorted on a downtick, making them a valuable risk management tool."

The iShares High Yield Fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the U.S. dollar high yield corporate bond market as defined by the iBoxx $ Liquid High Yield Index. The Index is a rules-based index consisting of the most liquid and tradable U.S. dollar-denominated, high yield corporate bonds for sale in the U.S. The number of issues in the index is typically 50, although this may change from time to time.

High yield securities, commonly referred to as "junk bonds," include those bonds rated lower than "BBB" by Standard & Poor's and Fitch or "Baa3" by Moody's. High yield products are considered riskier than other types of bonds or bond funds, but since they are not highly correlated to stocks, they provide diversification benefits to a portfolio.

The iShares Funds are index funds that are bought and sold like common stocks on securities exchanges. The iShares Funds are attractive to many individual and institutional investors and financial intermediaries because of their relative low cost, tax efficiency and trading flexibility. Investors can purchase and sell shares through any brokerage firm, financial advisor, or online broker, and hold the funds in any type of brokerage account.

Carefully consider the funds' investment objectives, risk factors and charges and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the funds' prospectuses, which may be obtained by calling 1-800-iShares or by visiting Read the prospectus carefully before investing.

BGI is one of the world's largest asset managers(2) and a leading global provider of investment management products and services. It has over 2,900 institutional clients and over $1.8 trillion of assets under management as of 12/31/06. It transformed the investment industry by creating the first index strategy in 1971 and the first quantitative active strategy in 1979. BGI is the global product leader in exchange traded funds (iShares) with over 190 funds for institutions and individuals trading in fifteen markets. Globally, BGI and its affiliates have approximately $287 billion of iShares assets under management. BGI is a majority-owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC.

There are risks involved with investing, including possible loss of principal. Bonds and bond funds will generally decrease in value as interest rates rise. High yield securities may be more volatile, be subject to greater levels of credit or default risk, and may be less liquid and more difficult to sell at an advantageous time or price to value than higher-rated securities of similar maturity. With short sales, you risk paying more for a security than you received from its sale.

The iShares Funds ("Funds") are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (SEI). Barclays Global Fund Advisors (BGFA) serves as an advisor to the Funds. Barclays Global Investors Services (BGIS) assists in the marketing of the Funds. BGFA and BGIS are subsidiaries of Barclays Global Investors, N.A., which is a majority owned subsidiary of Barclays Bank PLC, none of which is affiliated with SEI.

The iShares Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, issued, sold or promoted by iBoxx, nor does iBoxx make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Fund. Neither SEI nor BGI, nor any of their affiliates, are affiliated with iBoxx. iBoxx is a registered trademark of International Index Company Limited.

© 2007 Barclays Global Investors. All rights reserved. iShares® is a registered trademark of Barclays Global Investors, N.A. All other trademarks, servicemarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

(1) Source: The Wall Street Journal, “From Globe-Trotting to Junk Collection,” April 2, 2007.

(2) Source: “P&I/Watson Wyatt World 500,” Pensions & Investments, September 4, 2006.