By Kirk Shinkle

In the battle for ETF dollars, Vanguard is steadily gaining on the competition (namely BlackRock) when it comes to its hugely popular emerging market index tracker. While BlackRock's fund saw better inflows in June, the trend favors its rival. As usual, Vanguard is gaining ground by competing on price.

It seems to be a case of knowing what you get when you buy an index fund. Both track the MSCI emerging markets index

Investment News: BlackRock's emerging-markets ETF outpaced Vanguard's in June

Emerging markets, with their hoped-for consumer booms and relatively modest debt burden compared to the developed world, should continue to draw inflows of all sorts. However, most of that money has gone to stock funds in part because of a relative dearth of emerging market debt ETFs. But bonds -- and emerging market bonds -- become one of the hotter sectors for new index products.

Still, not everybody is jumping on the bond bandwagon in light of the struggling global economy.

Jim Rogers echoes his long-time emerging markets/commodity theme, but he's eyeing agricultural commodities like sugar and rice and other natural resources - and advising investors to steer clear of bonds.

ActiveETFs: WisdomTree Files For Commodity Currency And Emerging Market Debt Active ETF

Bloomberg: Sell Bonds, Buy Precious Metals, Rice as 'Refuge,' Rogers Says

More broadly, weekly mutual fund flows continue to favor bonds through the end of June. The Investment Company Institute's weekly report shows long-term funds saw $4.74 billion in inflows during the week ending June 30, with bonds offsetting $180 million worth of outflows from stock funds. Stock funds have been losing ground since May as investors fled sovereign debt woes in Europe and uncertain domestic equity markets.

ICI: Long-Term Mutual Fund Flows

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Investing - Mutual Fund Buzz: Emerging Markets Get a Boost | Successful Investing

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