Buying ETFs is as easy as buying stocks from your online broker. The only difference is that with ETFs, there is a prospectus available to help you understand the fund’s investment strategy. You should make absolutely sure that you are investing in the ETF of the index you’d like to hold such as the S&P 500 and The Dow. Any of the websites that can give you a stock quote can provide you with the information you need about your ETF of choice. You can also try the websites in the previous section. Our first stop for ETFs is usually the general investment website, Morningstar.

If you want to buy shares of ETFs, we recommend that you stick to the ones that track popular indices like the Dow, S&P 500, the Wishire, and the Russell. Avoid ETFs that track narrow sectors such as ETFs that track the market for gold and other precious metals. You can find the symbol for ETFs based on major indices on the table below.

To get basic information on an ETF before you invest in it, go to the Morningstar website and choose the "ETF" option on the menu on the top of the page. Enter the symbol for the ETF in the left menu bar of the page and click "Go". You will be launched into a page which has several options on the left menu bar. Find the option for "Snapshot" and you will be launched into a page that gives you a summary of the ETF.

The Morningstar site is just for general information on your ETF of choice. For a prospectus of the ETF, you should go to the website of the company that sponsors the ETF. For example, on the table below, the prospectus for the Nasdaq-100 ETF (Symbol: QQQ") can be found by going to the Nasdaq website, http://www.nasdaq.com. The prospectus of other ETFs can be found in a similar manner.

BROAD MARKET ETFS
ETF
Index Tracked
Symbol
Expense Ratio In %
Website

Standard & Poor’s Depository Receipts or SPDRS* (Also Known as “Spiders”)

 

S&P 500 SPY .12

ishares S&P 500 Index Fund

 

S&P 500 IVV .09

Vanguard’s Total Stock Market VI-PERs Index

 

Wilshire 5000 VTI .15

SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF

 

The Dow DIA .18

SPDR Standard & Poor’s MidCap 400 ETF

 

S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index MDY .25

ishares Russell 2000 Value Index Fund

 

Russell 2000 Index IWN .25

ishares Russell MidCap Index Fund

 

Russell Mid-Cap Index IWR .20
Nasdaq-100 Index Tracking Stock (Also Known as “Qubes”) Nasdaq 100 Index QQQ .20