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.

How successful investors get that way

Learn everything you need to know in this FREE Special Report from The Successful Investor.
How to Invest in stocks guide: Find 10 factors that make your investments safer and stronger.

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ETFs Library Archives

Let urbanization add to your future returns

The world’s urban population has seen rapid growth, from 751 million in 1950 to 4.2 billion in 2018. Currently, 55% of people now live in cities. According to United Nations estimates, the proportion of people living in urban areas will increase to 68% by 2050;… Read More

An aging population supports this megatrend

While the world’s population is still growing, it’s also getting older. That should have a profound impact on developed countries in Europe, Asia and North America. Aging baby boomers are reshaping government finances, pensions, labour markets, nutrition, and medical services.
At the same time, an aging… Read More

It’s too soon for you to buy China

ISHARES CHINA LARGE-CAP ETF, $38.92 (New York symbol FXI; TSINetwork ETF Rating: Aggressive; Market Cap: $4.4 billion) tracks the 50 largest, most-liquid Chinese stocks. It started up October 4, 2004, and investors are charged a high 0.74% MER. The units give you a 3.1% yield.
Top holdings for… Read More

Here’s a look at two new ETFs for investors

This month we analyze two new offerings for ETF investors from Dynamic Funds (a fund manager wholly owned by Scotiabank). The first hands you an actively managed, international dividend-paying portfolio while the second aims to provide investors with exposure to the top internationally listed infrastructure… Read More

Sweden ETF taps this worker-friendly market

Sweden’s high tax rates support its extensive government benefits for citizens—from its 18 months of paid parental leave to its housing allowance for families and 20-somethings. But the high tax rates haven’t kept this nation from becoming one of the world’s most-economically competitive.
In fact, government… Read More

Urbanization should spur your future gains

Another “megatrend” offering investors strong potential for long-term growth is the rising number of people worldwide moving to urban centres. Here are three ETFs that focus on mining, infrastructure, cybersecurity and other industries set to profit from urbanization. A supplement on page 40 offers you… Read More

What you should do

Stock prices have dropped sharply in anticipation of a much wider spread of the coronavirus, and a deep economic setback that could result from that spread.
In a sudden and deep stock-market drop like this, it’s all too easy to respond impulsively or go to extremes… Read More

Use these megatrends to build gains

“Megatrends” are societal shifts with significant, long-term implications for the economy and the stock market. Once in full swing, these trends can be easy to track, although it is more difficult to pick out the companies that will most benefit from them. This month we… Read More

Copper slows with China

GLOBAL X COPPER MINERS ETF $15.98, is a hold. The ETF (New York symbol COPX; buy or sell through brokers; lets you track the Solactive Global Copper Miners Index, which includes 27 global mining and exploration firms. It started up in April 2010.
Canadian firms make up 31.5% of… Read More

These ETFs offer you precious-metal gains

Investors saw gold jump to almost $1,700 U.S. an ounce in February 2020 for the first time in seven years. The leap was mostly due to uncertainty about how the coronavirus will impact the global economy and, in turn, stock prices. Gold has since dropped… Read More

Too soon for China buying

ISHARES CHINA LARGE-CAP ETF, $41.26, is a hold for safety-conscious investors. The ETF (New York symbol FXI; buy or sell through brokers) tracks the 50 largest, most-liquid Chinese stocks. It started up October 4, 2004, and investors are charged a high 0.74% MER. The units give you a 2.9%… Read More

These ETFs let you tap international growth

If you’re looking for an ETF with top holdings combined with exceptionally low fees, then Pennsylvania-based Vanguard Group offers you strong options. Vanguard is one of the world’s largest investment management companies. In all, it administers for investors over $5.3 trillion U.S. spread across 415… Read More

Value stocks can still spur investors gains

For our subscribers, we’ve long highlighted the benefits of “value investing.” As an investment style it has, over time, performed better than the overall market. The MSCI World Value Index, for example, has outperformed the MSCI World Growth Index by 2.1% per year since 1975… Read More

Fossil fuels will challenge investor returns

Companies involved in the production of carbon-based energy have generally underperformed for investors over the past several years (see table at right).
Volatile commodity prices are nothing new to the industry, with both oil and natural gas prices now at about half the highs reached in… Read More

Volatility mars your January returns

The year started with a bang as market volatility spiked. The killing of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani by U.S. forces, the rocket attack on a U.S. military camp in Iraq, the signing of a Phase 1 trade deal between the U.S. and China, and the… Read More

Here’s a look at new ETFs for investors

This month we consider two new ETFs. The first offers you an actively managed portfolio of global dividend-payers; the second provides investors with some upside exposure to the S&P 500 along with some risk protection.
TD Bank launched the TD ACTIVE GLOBAL ENHANCED DIVIDEND ETF (Toronto symbol TGED) in… Read More

Investors use Chile to tap copper

With output well ahead of China and Peru, Chile is the world’s leading miner of copper; its annual output of 6 million tonnes represents a third of global production, and copper accounts for 24% of Chile’s total exports. Investor gains in Chile directly or indirectly… Read More

Chile ETF offers value for aggressive investors

Investors in Chile have benefited from the success of Latin America’s best-performing economy for the past two decades. During this time of rapid expansion, poverty levels fell (while consumer spending rose) and healthcare and education improved substantially. However, the country has struggled over the past… Read More

‘Clever’ ETF tickers aim to attract you

An academic study titled “Would A Stock By Any Other Ticker Smell As Sweet?” examined the performance of companies with clever stock tickers such as Southwest (LUV), Internet America (GEEK), Lion Country Safari (GRRR), and Explosive Fabricators (BOOM).
This study found that between 1984 and 2004,… Read More