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Tom Lydon, ETF Trends (166 clicks)
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When browsing for an exchange traded fund, investors typically make a bee-line toward the largest ETF in a given market segment. However, with over 1,400 funds available, people should also look at alternative products that cover similar strategies.

If you take the time to look around, there are a number of funds outside the big ETFs that could provide better returns and diversification, writes Aaron Levitt for Investopedia.

For instance, many have invested in the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), which has a 0.40% expense ratio, as a way to hedge against quantitative easing, debt issues and inflation expectations. Alternatively, the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) is a similar offering but comes with a 0.25% expense ratio.

Additionally, the ETFS Physical PM Basket (GLTR) and the ETFS Physical White Metals Basket Share (WITE) provide exposure to a basket of various precious metals. WITE holds the "white metals" silver, platinum and palladium; and GLTR holds a basket of silver, platinum, palladium and gold.

Investors who are interested in a broad large-cap index ETF do not have to stick with the S&P 500. For instance, the Vanguard Mega Cap ETF (MGC), which tracks the CRSP US Mega Index, has outperformed the S&P 500 by 1% annually over the past three years.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon's clients own GLD.

Source: Look Beyond The Largest ETFs For Hidden Opportunities