BlackRock’s iShares Sector ETFs - dummies

By Russell Wild

BlackRock, Inc. offers U.S. sector funds along with international and global sector funds through its iShares line of ETFs. The iShares industry sector offerings include the following:

U.S. Sector Fund Name Ticker
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Basic Materials Index IYM
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Goods Index IYK
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Consumer Services Index IYC
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Energy Index IYE
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Sector Index IYF
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index IYG
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Healthcare Index IYH
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Index IYJ
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index IYR
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index IYW
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Index IYZ
iShares Dow Jones Transportation Average Index IYT
iShares Dow Jones U.S. Utilities Index IDU
iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index ICF
International Sector Fund Name Ticker
iShares MSCI ACWI ex-US Energy Sector Index Fund AXEN
iShares MSCI ACWI ex-US Consumer Staples Sector Index Fund AXSL
iShares MSCI ACWI ex-US Materials Sector Index Fund AXMT
iShares MSCI ACWI ex-US Industrials Sector Index Fund AXID
iShares MSCI ACWI ex-US Telecommunication Services Sector Index Fund AXTE
Global Sector Fund Name Ticker
iShares S&P Global Energy IXC
iShares S&P Global Materials MXI
iShares S&P Global Technology IXN
iShares S&P Global Timber & Forestry WOOD
iShares S&P Global Utilities JXI

For domestic industry-sector funds BlackRock, Inc. (sponsor of iShares) simply charges too much. With the exception of the iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index (REIT) ETF, which carries an expense ratio of 0.35 percent, all the other iShares sector options are 0.47 or (in most cases) 0.48 percent. That’s about double the cost of either the Vanguard ETFs or Select Sector SPDRs.

On the international and global front, however, the iShares ETFs are competitive with SPDRs: Most charge 0.48 percent in management fees. And the iShares lineup offers more global sector funds than any other ETF provider. (The ones listed here are just a representative sampling.) If you want to divide your portfolio into global sectors, iShares is the place to go.