The Absolute Best Way To Choose The Right ETFs

By: David Sterman of Street Authority

The rapid proliferation of the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry has been a boon for investors.

Many folks now simply focus on a key sector or trend, and buy the most suitable ETF to hit their target. For these folks, the time and energy of individual stock research just isn't worth it. Yet the process of picking the right ETF can be downright confusing.

Let's say you want to own an ETF that focuses on industrial companies. Do you choose the SPDR Industrial Select Sector ETF (NYSE: XLI), the Vanguard Industrials Index ETF (NYSE: VIS) or the iShares Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Sector Index ETF (NYSE: IYJ)? Before you answer that question, know that there are also more than a dozen other industrial ETFs, with a niche focus on China, multinationals, small caps... the list goes on.

Frankly, we may have reached a point of too many ETFs, and some funds will simply wither away from a lack of interest. According to, investors can now choose from more than 1,600 ETFs that collectively control more than $150 billion in assets. In just the month of June, 24 new ETFs were launched. It's getting hard to keep score.

Many new ETFs are falling under the category of "smart beta," which I discussed a few months ago. These funds tend to be pricier than traditional passive ETFs, which have less portfolio turnover and, typically, much lower expense ratios. Continue reading "The Absolute Best Way To Choose The Right ETFs"