Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you expect the consumer staples industry to thrive over time, since consumers will always, by definition, need their staples, the Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The Vanguard ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a very low 0.19%. (Vanguard is known for low fees.) It yields about 2% in dividend, too.
This ETF has performed rather well, outperforming the world market over the past three and five 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 a low turnover rate of 7%, 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 giants Altria
Food distribution titan Sysco
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 consumer staples 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.
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, holds no position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Express Scripts. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Express Scripts and SYSCO. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.