The New Allure
of Emerging-Market Debt

Yields on emerging-market debt funds and exchange-traded funds are certainly enticing these days, especially compared to U.S. Treasurys. Also attractive are the added benefits of portfolio diversification and currency appreciation. But the risks can't be overlooked.

Where Real Estate Is Rocking Again: REIT ETFs

Amid all the whining about residential and commercial real estate markets, exchange-traded funds comprising real estate investment trusts have quietly been kicking butt. They're up 22% year-to-date through Sept. 21, compared to 3.71% for the the S&P 500 stock index.

Why Dividend Hunters Have MLPs in Their Sights

The big attraction is tax-favored dividends. MLPs can be generous because they don't have to pay federal income taxes if they pay out most of their cash flow to shareholders. Many MLPs now annually pay in the 6% to 10% range. But, alas, they're not for everyone.

ETFs at Midyear: Investments Keep Pouring In

The first half of 2010 has been anything but dull for exchange-traded fund investors. ETF assets in the U.S. decreased 0.4% to $772 billion as of June 30, but that actually indicates a serious inflow of cash: Equity markets, as measured by the S&P 500, fell 8.9% during the period.

Is Your ETF Heading for the Investment Graveyard?

With nearly 900 exchange-traded funds holding more than $780 billion in assets, life in the ETF arena is a matter of survival of the fittest. With all these niche products, how can you tell if your ETF is a survivor or a soon-to-be financial failure?

Don't Break the Investing Rules With ETFs

Exchange-traded funds are lauded for their low cost, tax efficiency, and transparency, their popularity shows no signs of ebbing. But even a good thing can be misused. Read on for five ways that bad strategies can turn a good ETF into a bad investment.

Does Your Socially Responsible ETF Include Haliburton?

Investors wanting their portfolio to support their values can now choose socially responsible ETFs. But buyer beware -- depending on the index they track, these funds may include companies like Transocean and Haliburton, of the Gulf oil spill fame.

ETFs Vs. Closed-End Funds: Which Is Right For You?

Closed-end funds have been around since 1893. So how do the granddaddies of the investment fund world stack up beside the new kid on the block -- the exchange-traded fund? Here's your ETF vs. CEF guide.

ETF Lessons From the May 6 Flash Crash

The Flash Crash of May 6 was a day of reckoning of sorts for investors in exchange-traded funds. ETFs didn't cause the meltdown, but they were certainly among its victims.

ETF Basics: How to Dissect an ETF Fact Sheet

You're thinking of investing in an exchange-traded fund, but what are the odds you're going to read the whole prospectus? Don't buy blind: The ETF fact sheet can give you much of the key information, if you know how to look.

Gold's Pullback Offers Investors Opportunities

The economic turmoil rocking Europe has been fueling the price of gold. The shiny metal, considered a safe haven investment, could be on track to hit $1,200. During Tuesday trading,gold fell from its five-month high as the dollar strengthened, creating an opportunity for bullish gold investors.

SEC to Investors: Be Careful with Leveraged ETFs

Exchange-Traded Funds that use derivatives -- or products such as options that derive their value from other instruments -- are probably among the most complex investments. Small wonder then that securities regulators are warning investors of the risks with these inverse and leveraged ETFs.

Emerging Market ETFs Target Growth

Why settle for broad market exposure when you can zoom in on specific areas with the strongest growth? Well, some specialized emerging market ETFs let you do just that. Just be prepared to do your homework on these investments.

Do Free ETF Trades Have a Price Tag?

Charles Schwab drew first blood in the commission wars, offering free trades for its ETFs. Fidelity struck back with offers of 25 iShares exchange-traded funds commission-free. Should investors jump on these "free" offers? Hint: always read the fine print.

Socially Responsible ETFs Poised for Growth

A small but growing number of exchange-traded funds are popping up to support socially responsible businesses, and experts expect to see 'an explosion' of these funds soon. But are ETFs the best way to spur change -- and earn returns?

10 Rules You Need to Know Before Investing in ETFs

You're a savvy investor: You know your way around a mutual fund. But figuring out exchange-traded funds can be a whole different ballgame, so we've asked a few financial experts to help demystify the art of successful ETF investing.

How to Become a Savvy Investor in Sector ETFs

Buying a single stock ties your fate to the ups and downs of one company. You can moderate this risk but still aim for your target by investing in an exchange-traded fund focused on a particular sector. With ETFs for just about every sector, how do you begin to choose? We'll tell you how.

Is the All-ETF Portfolio a Good Idea?

Portfolios made up entirely of exchange-traded funds could have appeal, as ETFs often have lower expense ratios than many mutual funds and they trade throughout the day. But investors should be careful, as buying ETFs based on speculation that an industry or market segment may outperform can be dangerous.

Exotic ETFs May Hide a Tax Surprise

One reason investors are rushing into ETFs is their tax advantages; people buy into the funds expecting to pay low capital gains rates on their profits. But depending on what your ETF invests in, you could be in for a big shock - and a bigger bite out of your earnings - come April 15.

How to Avoid the 10 Biggest Investing Mistakes

The securities industry is always coming up with the "latest and greatest" way to make a quick buck. But almost all of such vehicles are structured to benefit brokers and money managers. Investors wind up getting relegated to their usual status as victims with no redress.

Know the Providers Before Shopping for an ETF

As assets in U.S. exchange-traded funds hit a record of more than $700 billion last year, ETF providers are sprouting faster than you can say ETF boom. Indeed, there are now nearly 30.

Is There an ETF in Your 401(k)'s Future?

While nobody was paying much attention, exchange-traded funds, with their lower costs and greater transparency, have scooped up a $2 billion to $4 billion share of the $1 trillion 401(k) market. Is an ETF right for you?

Famed Investor Jim Rogers Says Food Shortages Coming

A severe food shortage is on its way, according to famed investor Jim Rogers. Food inventories are the lowest in decades and "[m]any farmers cannot get loans to buy fertilizer now, even though we have big shortages developing," he said.

Schwab Likely to Disappoint

Charles Schwab will likely come in below analysts' estimates when it releases fourth quarter earnings on Thursday. Among its problems: a slowdown in trading volumes and an acceleration of money market fund fee waivers.

Even ETFs Beat Hedge Funds in 2009

Retail investors who think they're missing out on the big money because they don't have a million bucks to get into a hedge fund should consider themselves lucky. Hedge funds had their best year in a decade in 2009 -- and yet they couldn't even beat the broader market.

Do ETFs Need Their Own Trade Group?

As ETFs absorb more money and attract more scrutiny, an independent trade organization may be necessary for their operators, both to market the popular new products and to educate consumers and advisers about their possible risks.

Will Bond ETFs Have Another Banner Year?

There's one word to describe the exchange-traded bond fund business and market in 2009 -- booming. Indeed, last year more than $39 billion flowed into long-only bond ETFs, while more than $26 billion flowed out of long only U.S. stock ETFs. Can fixed-income investors expect more of the same in 2010?

ETFs in 2010: Hot. Don't Get Burned

Providers of exchange-traded funds and notes had a strong 2009 and the new year is shaping up to bring more of the same. But what's good for ETF companies isn't necessarily good for investors.

Are ETFs Destined to Disappoint?

Exchange-traded funds have never been more popular. They're passively managed, which makes them cheap, like mutual funds, and they trade all day long, like stocks. But Wall Street greed might make ETFs the next good investment vehicle to go bad.