Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you expect gold companies to thrive as demand for gold keeps growing in the face of a volatile stock market, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The gold ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.53%.
This ETF has performed well, crushing the S&P 500 over the past five years and especially since late 2008. 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 a very low turnover rate of 3%, this fund isn't frantically and frequently rejiggering its holdings, as many funds do.
What's in it?
Several of this ETF's components made strong contributions to its performance over the past year. AuRico Gold
Other companies didn't add as much to the ETF's returns in 2011, but could have an effect in the years to come. Silver Wheaton
The big picture
Demand for gold 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.