Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you'd like to invest in defensive stocks that tend to hold up better than others in tough economies -- and still grow over time -- the iShares S&P Global Consumer Staples ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The iShares ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.48%.
This ETF has performed rather well, beating the world market handily over the past three and five years, as well as the past year. 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 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. Philip Morris International
Western Gas Partners
Other companies didn't do as well last year, but could see their fortunes change in the coming years. Procter & Gamble
The big picture
Demand for consumer staples, as implied by the sector's name, 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.
Many consumer staples companies dominate their industries, and have made many shareholders rich as they grew. In our special new report, you can discover the "3 American Companies Set to Dominate the World." The report's free today, but it won't be for long -- so click quickly.
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Procter & Gamble, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Procter & Gamble. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.