As exchange-traded funds continue to win favor with investors, the number of available offerings in this sector has exploded. According to Morningstar data, there are nearly 1,300 exchange-traded funds on the market today, 187 of which were introduced just this year. And while you can safely pass by the vast majority of these funds, there are a few that stand out as worthy of your investment dollars.
If I had to give the thumbs-up to just one exchange-traded fund of the year so far, it would go to Vanguard Total International Stock Index ETF
And unlike many new ETFs that track newly designed and often somewhat obscure benchmarks, this fund has some history behind it. The index mutual fund version of the ETF goes back to 1996 and ranks in the top 15% of all foreign large-cap blend funds, including actively managed funds, over the past decade. With a low 0.20% price tag and an all-inclusive foreign focus, this fund is one of the best new ETF choices around.
Two more contenders
Two other worthwhile new-to-the-market funds come from the Schwab family of funds. In case you haven't noticed, Schwab has been engaging in a bit of a price war with ETF industry leaders Vanguard, State Street, and iShares (which BlackRock acquired last year). Their latest two offerings are no exception.
The Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF
Likewise, the Schwab U.S. REIT ETF
Another intriguing newcomer to the ETF field is the SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF
Likewise, on the basis on cost alone, the Focus Morningstar US Market ETF
Ultimately, investors should be very cautious about new exchange-traded funds coming on to the market. Most are expensive and either focused on a thin slice of the market or employ significant leverage to boost returns. However, there are a few new funds that take a broader stance on the market and make an effort to keep fees low -- and these are the ETFs that should earn a second look from investors.