ETF Trends
ETF Trends

There is no dearth of broad market, U.S.-focused exchange traded funds from which to choose. While this corner of the ETF arena offers investors a dizzying amount of choices, there is at least one positive: It is hard to go wrong when it comes to fees as broad market U.S. equity ETFs are some of the least expensive ETFs.

The iShares Core S&P Total US Stock Market ETF (NYSEArca: ITOT) fits the bill as the as the $1.1 billion fund charges a scant 0.07% per year. Home to just over 1,500 stocks, ITOT is competitively priced against S&P 500 ETFs and offers a deeper lineup. [A Diversified ETF Portfolio]

ITOT is not only a sound alternative to an S&P 500 ETF, but also a valid alternative to actively managed U.S. equity mutual funds. The statistics do not lie.

“A recently released S&P Dow Jones Indices report compared the performance of active mutual funds with a related index for a range of periods ending in December 2013. Unfortunately for mutual fund managers and their investors the data is not encouraging. In 2013, 55% of all U.S. large-cap, 68% all U.S. small-cap and 53% of all U.S. multi-cap active mutual funds underperformed their respective S&P indices, with just mid-cap funds generating the average returns that should be expected. Looking further back the results are even worse, particularly for multi-cap funds. 80% of the funds underperformed the S&P Composite 1500 Index in the three-year period and 71% did so in the five-year period. Such underperformance is particularly discouraging when you consider than the average multi-cap core mutual fund has a net expense ratio of 1.3%,” according to a new research note from S&P Capital IQ.

S&P Capital IQ rates ITOT overweight. Over the past two years, ITOT has slightly outpaced the S&P 500, gaining 40.6%, including all dividends, compared to 39.8% for the benchmark U.S. index. Differences at the sector level explain some of that performance differential. [A Core ETF Portfolio]

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