What are ETFs?

ETF is an acronym for exchange traded fund. These exchange traded funds are used to track indexes as closely as possible, since investors cannot actually buy an index outright.

Exchange traded funds trade on stock exchanges, just like stocks. Investors can buy them on margin, or sell them short. The best exchange-traded funds offer well-diversified, tax-efficient portfolios with exceptionally low management ETF fees. They are also very liquid.

Investors use ETFs in a variety of ways, and some investors work only with ETFs and no other type of investment in portfolio creation.

An amazing aspect of ETFs is their diversity. Some investors may create an entire portfolio solely from a few well-diversified ETFs.

ETFs trade on stock exchanges, just like stocks. That’s different from mutual funds, which you can only buy at the end of the day at a price that reflects the fund’s value at the close of trading.

Prices of ETFs are quoted in newspaper stock tables and online. You pay brokerage commissions to buy and sell them, but their low management fees give them a cost advantage over most mutual funds.

As well, shares are only added or removed when the underlying index changes. As a result of this low turnover, you won’t incur the regular capital gains taxes generated by the yearly distributions most conventional mutual funds pay out to unitholders.

ETFs have a place in every investor’s portfolio, at TSI Network we also recommend using our three-part Successful Investor strategy:

  1. Invest mainly in well-established companies;
  2. Spread your money out across most if not all of the five main economic sectors (Manufacturing & Industry; Resources & Commodities; the Consumer sector; Finance; Utilities);
  3. Downplay or avoid stocks in the broker/media limelight.

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ETFs Library Archives

These ETF niches are ready to reward you

We think that overall, most investors should hold the bulk of their portfolios in high-quality U.S. and Canadian stocks—or ETFs that hold those shares. But if you’re looking to add growth to your portfolio, here are some niche ETFs we recommend for your new buying.

International… Read More

2019 gave you double-digit gains

ETFs that lost value during 2019 were hugely outnumbered by those that gained in value. Indeed, low interest rates, plus receding fears of recession, supported gains.
Stocks, in particular, had an outstanding year, with the U.S. market leading the way. At the broad market level, the Vanguard… Read More

It pays you to be wary of new ETF issues

This month we consider two new high-interest savings ETFs, which compete with money market funds. We also offer you a look at a hedge fund ETF from AGF.
In our August 2019 issue, we initially analyzed high rate savings ETFs from Purpose Investments. Since then, the… Read More

Heed the lessons of ‘tulip mania’

Tulip mania was a period in the Dutch Golden Age (roughly spanning the 17th century) during which prices for some tulip bulbs reached extraordinarily high levels. However, they then abruptly collapsed in February 1637. It was generally considered to be the first recorded speculative “bubble,”… Read More

Here’s a powerhouse economy for investors

Some investors overlook the Netherlands given its small size and small population. Still, other investors recognize it as one of the world’s top 20 economies and among the world’s top 10 exporters.
The Netherlands has recovered well from the financial crisis a decade ago and is… Read More

These 3 funds lift your prospects for gains

In addition to our 2020 picks featured on pages 11 and 12—we recommend the following three ETFs, poised to drive global economic growth this year and to help you tap key market segments. For myriad reasons (see the supplement on pages 19 and 20), each… Read More

Your #1 ETF for 2020: SPDR S&P 500 ETF

SPDR S&P 500 ETF $328 (New York symbol SPY) lets you hold the stocks of the S&P 500 Index; they’re major U.S. companies chosen based on market cap, liquidity and industry.
The fund’s highest-weighted stocks offer a lot of appeal for investors: Apple, 4.7% of assets; Microsoft, 4.5%;… Read More

These ETFs set you up for 2020 gains

This issue, we identify five niche funds ready to boost this year’s returns for our subscribers. (They’re in addition to our top ETF pick for 2020, see column at right.) Each is also likely to cut your investment risk for 2020, and for the many years… Read More

Add Vietnam to your ETFs

VANECK VECTORS VIETNAM ETF, $15.99, is a buy for aggressive investors. The emerging market ETF (New York symbol VNM) lets you tap into Vietnamese companies and foreign firms that get a significant share of their revenue from the Southeast Asian nation.
The ETF’s top holdings for its investors are Vinhomes… Read More

These ETFs give you top-quality stocks

The six ETFs we update for you below mainly hold high-quality stocks that are widely traded on Canadian and U.S. exchanges. Each fund tracks the performance of a major stock market index for its investors. Note that this is different from riskier ETFs focused on… Read More

You should hold this ETF

ISHARES S&P/TSX REIT INDEX ETF, $19.49, is a hold. The ETF (Toronto symbol XRE; buy or sell through brokers; lets you tap into all 19 Canadian real estate investment trusts in the S&P/TSX REIT Index.
Investors pay a reasonable MER of 0.61%, and it currently gives you a.. Read More

Investors continue their march toward ETFs

Exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) have taken the investment world by storm.
In Canada, ETF assets under management have grown by 150% over the past five years, from $77 billion to $192 billion. At the same time, the number of ETFs has doubled. Robust growth was also evident… Read More

Don’t overlook the power of mid-cap stocks

Medium-sized companies are a bit like the proverbial middle child—they tend not to get as much attention from investors as the smallest or the biggest.
But this creates opportunities for investors who are prepared to add the best of those stocks—or the ETFs that hold them—to… Read More

Here’s where you saw strong gains

Overall, November delivered some significant gains for stock market investors, with the U.S. markets leading the way. While the iShares MSCI Canada Equity ETF (symbol EWC) gained 2.6% and the Vanguard Total World Stocks ETF (symbol VT), 3.7%, the Vanguard S&P 500 (symbol VOO) rose 4.6%.
Still, the main story for ETF… Read More

TD launches 10 new funds for ETF investors

TD Asset Management has added 10 new ETFs to its roster of funds. We highlight two of these ETFs for you below: Both aim to give investors broad international exposure.
The TD ACTIVE GLOBAL REAL ESTATE ETF (Toronto symbol TGRE) invests in real estate companies around the world. The… Read More

Your ETFs can lag their indexes

The broad Vietnamese stock market, as measured by the FTSE Vietnam All Share Index, has done very well over the longer term, gaining 71% over the five years ending October 31, 2019. By comparison, the VanEck Vietnam ETF lost 3.1% over the same period. This… Read More

Investors can share Vietnam’s trade-war gains

The Vietnamese stock market has done well over the past five years, but limitations on foreign investment in the country’s public companies have caused the VanEck Vietnam ETF to lag behind.
However, the fund is one of the only ways for investors to gain exposure to… Read More

Brace yourself for more ‘active ETFs’

Most ETFs now available to investors are passive funds that aim to track overall markets or other rules-based indexes. We prefer that strategy, which helps to keep the fees you pay low. However, some investors still prefer actively managed portfolios, where portfolio managers apply their… Read More

They give you low-fee access to top stocks

Fund management expenses (MERs) can eat up a substantial proportion of your investment returns over time. That’s one reason why ETFs have become very popular. But there’s a segment of those funds with even lower MERs. Below, we analyze three of those ETFs providing investors… Read More