The Nasdaq Composite has been the forgotten bridesmaid of stock indexes, with nary an exchange-traded fund on her calling card. (An ETF is a bite-sized version of an index fund that enables investors to buy a portfolio of securities in a single share.) Her pals at the Dow Jones Industrial Average have "diamonds" (DIA) following her every move, the S&P 500 has "spiders" (SPY), and the Nasdaq 100 Index got hitched with "cubes" (and a stylish QQQ ticker symbol).
Last month, Fidelity Investments came calling, though, and filed to take the Nasdaq Composite to the ETF altar. It'll be the company's first exchange-traded mutual fund, joining other ETF bearers such as Barclay's, Merrill Lynch, Vanguard and iShares. (To bone up on your ETF know-how, check out our new a 60-second refresher course.
Fidelity Nasdaq Composite Index Tracking Stock (may we humbly suggest the ticker XXX) will seek to match the return of the widely followed benchmark, which includes about 3,600 listed Nasdaq stocks. The ETF is expected to begin trading on Aug. 11, according to Fidelity's filing.
Around here, Fools call the Nasdaq Composite "CiscIntSoft," for the three powerhouse technology companies -- Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft -- that comprise the majority value of the index. Buying shares in one of these companies may be all you need to add that Nasdaq-y element to your portfolio, although the ETF will obviously offer better diversification. You need a brokerage account to buy ETFs anyways.
Though a late-bloomer in ETF land, surely Fidelity sees a bright future in its new union. Assets invested in ETFs reached nearly $95 billion in January, up from $15.6 billion in 1998, according to research posted on Fidelity's own ETF education area.
Before you rush in, remember to check on fees. The Fidelity ETF will have an expense ratio of 0.30% (30 cents per $100 invested). By comparison, expenses for the Nasdaq 100 Trust are 0.20%, and SPDRs (an index mutual fund tracking the S&P 500 Stock Exchange) charge investors just 0.12% annually.