Exchange Traded Funds are essentially Index Funds that are listed and traded on exchanges like stocks.
An ETF holds assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds and generally operates with an arbitrage mechanism designed to keep it trading close to its net asset value, although deviations can occasionally occur.
They enable investors to gain broad exposure to entire stock markets in different Countries and specific sectors with relative ease, on a real-time basis and at a lower cost than many other forms of investing.
ETF distributors only buy or sell ETFs directly from or to authorized participants, which are large broker-dealers with whom they have entered into agreements—and then, only in creation units, which are large blocks of tens of thousands of ETF shares, usually exchanged in-kind with baskets of the underlying securities.
Authorized participants may wish to invest in the ETF shares for the long-term, but they usually act as market makers on the open market, using their ability to exchange creation units with their underlying securities to provide liquidity of the ETF shares and help ensure that their intraday market price approximates the net asset value of the underlying assets.
Most ETFs are index funds that attempt to replicate the performance of a specific index. Indexes may be based on stocks, bonds, commodities, or currencies. An index fund seeks to track the performance of an index by holding in its portfolio either the contents of the index or a representative sample of the securities in the index. Some index ETFs, known as leveraged ETFs or inverse ETFs, use investments in derivatives to seek a return that corresponds to a multiple of, or the inverse (opposite) of, the daily performance of the index.
The first and most popular ETFs track stocks. Stock ETFs can have different styles, such as large-cap, small-cap, growth, value, et cetera. For example, the S&P 500 index is large- and mid-cap, so the SPDR S&P 500 ETF will not contain small-cap stocks. Others such as iShares Russell 2000 are mainly for small-cap stocks.
Exchange-traded funds that invest in bonds are known as bond ETFs. They thrive during economic recessions because investors pull their money out of the stock market and into bonds There are several advantages to bond ETFs such as the reasonable trading commissions, but this benefit can be negatively offset by fees if bought and sold through a third party.
Commodity ETFs (CETFs or ETCs) invest in commodities, such as precious metals, agricultural products, or hydrocarbons. Among the first commodity ETFs were gold exchange-traded funds, which have been offered in a number of countries. Commodity ETFs trade just like shares, are simple and efficient and provide exposure to an ever-increasing range of commodities and commodity indices, including energy, metals, softs and agriculture. However, it is important for an investor to realize that there are often other factors that affect the price of a commodity ETF that might not be immediately apparent.
Inverse ETFs are constructed by using various derivatives for the purpose of profiting from a decline in the value of the underlying benchmark. It is a similar type of investment to holding several short positions or using a combination of advanced investment strategies to profit from falling prices. Many inverse ETFs use daily futures as their underlying benchmark
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have gained a wider acceptance as financial instruments whose unique advantages over mutual funds have caught the eye of many an investor. These instruments are beneficial for Investors that find it difficult to master the tricks of the trade of analyzing and picking stocks for their portfolio.
ETF's Scheme launched on NSE