Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you'd like to diversify your portfolio with some international holdings and you favor smaller companies because of their ability to grow faster, the Schwab International Small-Cap Equity ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual-fund cousins. The Schwab ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.35%. It offers an appealing dividend yield of 3.3%, as well. The fund is also fairly small, so if you're thinking of buying, beware of occasionally large spreads between its bid and ask prices. Consider using a limit order if you want to buy in.
This ETF has underperformed its benchmark over the past year, but it hasn't really been around long enough to have a sufficient track record to assess. 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 18%, this fund isn't frantically and frequently rejiggering its holdings, as many funds do.
What's in it?
More than a handful of smallish international companies had strong performances over the past year. Franco-Nevada
Other companies didn't do as well last year but could see their fortunes change in years to come. Baytex Energy
The big picture
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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