Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you'd like to invest in consumer-staples companies because they focus on ... well, the staples that most people can't do without, no matter what the economy is doing, then the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The consumer staples ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is an ultra-low 0.18%.
This ETF has performed reasonably well, outperforming the S&P 500, on average, over the past five and 10 years. As with most investments, of course, we can't expect outstanding performances in every quarter or year. Investors with conviction need to wait for their holdings to deliver.
With an extremely low turnover rate of 4%, this fund isn't frantically and frequently rejiggering its holdings, as many funds do.
What's in it?
Several consumer-staples companies had strong performances over the past year. Tobacco giant Altria
Other companies didn't do as well last year but could see their fortunes change in the coming years. Walgreen
The big picture
Demand for staples, by definition, isn't going away anytime soon. A well-chosen ETF can grant you instant diversification across any industry or group of companies -- and make investing in and profiting from it that much easier.