How to Begin Selecting Sector ETFs - dummies

By Russell Wild

After you decide which industry sectors you wish to invest in, you need to pick and choose among exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Blackrock’s iShares offers about 40 U.S. selections and 40 global or international selections. PowerShares has about 50 domestic and a dozen international sector funds.

State Street Global Advisors offers about two dozen SPDRs that cover U.S. industry sectors and nearly as many that cover international and global markets. Vanguard has 11 U.S. sector funds and one international. And there are other players, too.

Begin your sector selection here:

  • Do you want representation in large industry sectors (healthcare, technology, utilities)? Your options include Vanguard ETFs, Blackrock’s iShares, State Street Global Advisors Select Sector SPDRs, as well as funds from Fidelity, First Trust, Global X, Jefferies, Market Vectors, PowerShares, and WisdomTree.

  • Do you want to zero in on narrow industry niches (insurance, oil service, nanotech)? Consider PowerShares, First Trust, or Market Vectors ETFs.

  • Are you looking for sometimes ridiculously narrow industry niches (aluminum) or sectors within sectors within small countries? You should look at EGShares, Global X, and Guggenheim ETFs.

  • Do you want to keep your expense ratios to a minimum? Vanguard’s ETFs, the State Street Global Advisors Select Sector SPDRs, and FocusShares from Scottrade tend to cost the least.