Rainy day funds

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Last year may have been a dismal time for investors in many asset classes, but for providers of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) there were a few hints of sunshine amid the doom and gloom. In fact, the year provided indications the ETF business will remain healthy in the long term.

On a global basis, ETFs were one of the few products to see net inflows in 2008, with sales of $188 billion, according to New York-based research firm Strategic Insight. By contrast, mutual funds saw redemptions of $257 b

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