Exchange-traded funds are one way to hold shares and other assets in entire markets or niche slices of them.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) hold assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds and are traded on stock exchanges. In 2017, there was $3.28 trillion invested in ETFs in the United States alone. Half of all the money invested in ETFs in the United States flowed into less than 1% of the 1,756 ETFs marketed in the United States.
According to bankrate.com, ETFs: “allow investors to quickly own a diversified set of securities, such as stocks, at a low cost. They also allow investors to get very specific exposure to areas of the market, such as countries, industries, and asset classes.” Etftrends.com describes 2019 as “an exciting year for stocks and ETFs, especially the semiconductor and real estate industries…”
Here are ten ETFs identified as some of the best to hold in your portfolio.
Invesco QQQ Trust ETF
This ETF leans heavily to technology stocks, being made up of only non-financial NASDAQ stocks. With net assets of $68 billion, it’s one of the largest. Fees amount to $20 per year for every $10,000 invested. The ETF did lose 1.6% in 2018, but that was a reflection of the market as a whole. Compare that result to 2017, when the same ETF rose in value by nearly one third. Its year-to-date daily total return in 2019 is 32.34%.
iShares Core S&P 500 ETF
Blackrock is the world’s largest fund company and sponsor of this ETF, which has a portfolio built of the United States’ largest companies. Launching in 2000, it now has $160 billion in assets, and has annual costs of just $4 for every $10,000 invested. Again, the ETF’s 2018 performance of -4.4% reflected that overall down market. Its year-to-date return in 2019 is 26.7%
ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
This ETF is made up of just $176 million in assets. It’s an unusual item in a bit of a niche market. Bankrate.com explains why: “It allows investors to profit on the volatility of the market, rather than a specific security. If volatility moves higher, this ETF increases in value.” In 2018, it returned a rate of 66.8% with expenses of $87 annually for each $10,000 invested.
ETFs “allow investors to quickly own a diversified set of securities, such as stocks, at a low cost. They also allow investors to get very specific exposure to areas of the market, such as countries, industries, and asset classes.”
Vanguard High-Dividend Yield
The FTSE High Dividend Yield Index consists of American stocks that pay high-dividend yields. This ETF tracks that index. It’s sponsor, Vanguard, is among the most reputable in the industry. Its costs are $6 annually for every $10,000 invested, and it has $23 billion under management. It lost 5.9% in 2018 but that, again, was a reflection of the state of the broader market. It’s average annual return as of November 30, 2019, is 10.07%.
Vanguard Health Care Index Fund
The Health Care Index Fund grants each investor exposure to over 300 stocks in the health-care sector. It’s a sector and fund that will be affected by political and regulatory changes that affect the industry. It was founded in 2004, has $9.4 billion in assets, and returned 5.6% in 2018.
Market Vectors Rupee/USD ETN
This index tracks Standard & Poor’s Indian Rupee Total Return Index. Investors can trade the ETN on an exchange at prices set by the market or can receive cash payments from the issuer based on the performance of the index. As of December 4, 2019, it had returned 68.83% year to date.
2019 is “an exciting year for stocks and ETFs, especially the semiconductor and real estate industries…”
Invesco Solar ETF
This ETF, started in 2008, tracks MAC’s Global Solar Index, itself built of companies in the solar energy industry. It has a 0.50% management fee, and the fund and index are rebalanced quarterly. At least 90% of the ETF’s total assets are invested in securities, American depositary receipts, and global depositary receipts. As of December 4, 2019, it had returned 52.35% year to date.
iShares U. S. Home Construction ETF
The Home Construction ETF offers opportunities to invest in a spectrum of American companies involved in domestic residential home construction. It tracks investment returns of an index built of U.S. equities in the home construction sector. As of December 4, 2019, it had returned 49.86% year to date.
Van Eck Vectors S&P Semiconductors ETF
The MVIS US Listed Semiconductor Index tracks the overall performance of companies involved in semiconductor production and equipment. This Van Eck Vectors ETF attempts to replicate Semiconductors Index’ performance. As of December 4, 2019, it had returned 48.19% year to date.
SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF
This ETF’s results correspond to the S&P Semiconductor Select IndustryTM Index. It offers exposure to large, mid and small-cap stocks. As of December 4, 2019, it had returned 48.02% year to date.
A deeper dive – Related reading from the 101:
–The 5 best ETFs to have in your portfolio | Finance 101
We took a look at ETFs in 2018. Did you take the plunge?
–Everything you need to know about shorting stocks | Finance 101
There are a lot of ways to make — and lose — money in the stock market. Learn about shorting.