Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you expect global utilities to thrive over time as the world's population grows, economies develop, and energy demands increase, the iShares S&P Global Utilities Index ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The utilities ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.48%, and it recently offered a hefty dividend yield of 4.6%.
This ETF doesn't have the most sparkling performance record, underperforming the S&P 500 over the past five years. But the future counts more than the past, and as with most investments, 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 9%, this fund isn't frantically and frequently rejiggering its holdings, as many funds do.
What's in it?
Several global utilities companies had solid performances over the past year, despite economic malaise in much of the world. Duke Energy
Other companies didn't do as well last year but could see their fortunes change in the coming years. Exelon
Public Service Enterprise Group
The big picture
Demand for energy 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.
These aren't the only intriguing energy investments. If you think high oil prices are here for a while, consider making money on them. Check out our special free report, "3 Stocks for $100 Oil," and meet some compelling candidates for your portfolio.