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David Fry, ETF Digest (67 clicks)
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Our goal is to help investors wade through the many competing ETF offerings available. Using our long experience as an ETF publication, we can help select those ETFs that matter and may not be repetitive. There are over 40 ETFs in the Mid Cap category including growth, value and blend. We're going to focus on blended issues which intuitively would be the most usable for most investors.

ETFs selected are based on indexes tied to well-known index providers including Russell, S&P, Barclays, MSCI, Dow Jones etc.

Uniquely, investors should remember, mid-cap issues may carry a higher beta (volatility or higher risk levels) than their large cap peers. This means during times of higher economic growth combined with accommodative Fed monetary policies and bullish market conditions returns in these two sectors should outperform. But, the opposite can occur when these conditions reverse.

Remaining aware of these benefits and risks should be important to every investor. Further given bullish conditions it sometimes becomes difficult to ascertain and distinguish between small, mid and large cap sectors.

One thing you'll note with charts posted is the similarities in trends and performance. This isn't a coincidence given overall index constituent similarities from one to another.

We feature a technical view of conditions from monthly chart views. Simplistically, we recommend longer-term investors stay on the right side of the 12 month simple moving average.

When prices are above the moving average, stay long, and when below remain in cash or short. Some more interested in a fundamental approach may not care so much about technical issues preferring instead to buy when prices are perceived as low and sell for other reasons when high; but, this is not our approach.

Premium members to the ETF Digest receive added signals when markets become extended such as DeMark triggers to exit overbought/oversold conditions.

For traders and investors wishing to hedge, leveraged and inverse issues are available to utilize from ProShares and Direxion and where available these are noted. Both ProShares and Direxion offer inverse and leveraged long/short ETFs for investors wishing to hedge or speculate.


#10: Schwab Mid-Cap ETF (SCHM)

SCHM follows the Dow Jones U.S. Mid-Cap Total Stock Market Index which is a float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that reflects the shares of securities of the mid cap portion of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market index actually available to investors in the marketplace. The Mid-Cap Index includes the components ranked 501-1000 by full market capitalization. The fund was launched in January 2011.

The expense ratio is 0.13%. AUM equal @206.7 M and the average trading volume is 81K shares. As a new ETF there isn't as much history but the low fee combined with commission-free trading for Schwab clients makes it an interesting entrant. As of May 2012 the annual dividend is projected at 0.88% and YTD return was 8.70%. The one year return was -4.41%. SCHM trades commission free at Charles Schwab.

Data as of May 2012

SCHM Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Kansas City Southern, Inc. (KSU): 0.50%
  • Macerich Company (MAC): 0.48%
  • Digital Realty Trust, Inc. (DLR): 0.47%
  • Wyndham Worldwide Corporation (WYN): 0.46%
  • Equinix, Inc. (EQIX): 0.46%
  • United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL): 0.43%
  • Church & Dwight Company, Inc. (CHD): 0.43%
  • SL Green Realty Corporation (SLG): 0.42%
  • Eastman Chemical Company (EMN): 0.42%
  • NiSource Inc (NI): 0.41%

#9: RevenueShares Mid-Cap ETF (RWK)

RWK follows the RevenueShares Mid Cap Index which tracks the S&P MidCap 400 but each security in the fund is ranked by top line revenue instead of market capitalization. The fund was launched in February 2008. The expense ratio is 0.54%. AUM equal $133 M and average daily trading volume is 25K shares.

As of May 2012 the annual dividend yield was 2.87% and YTD return 8.97%. The 1 YR return was -2.90%.

Data as of May 2012

RWK Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Ingram Micro, Inc. (IM): 3.34%
  • World Fuel Services Corporation (INT): 2.76%
  • Avnet Inc (AVT): 2.32%
  • Tech Data Corporation (TECD): 2.17%
  • ManpowerGroup (MAN): 2.03%
  • Arrow Electronics Inc (ARW): 1.98%
  • Health Net Inc (HNT): 1.17%
  • Community Health Systems Inc (CYH): 1.14%
  • Smithfield Foods, Inc. (SFD): 1.06%
  • HollyFrontier Corp (HFC): 1.04% %

#8: SPDR DJ Wilshire Mid-Cap ETF (EMM)

EMM follows the Dow Jones Wilshire U.S. Mid-Cap Total Stock Market Index which is a float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that reflects the shares of securities of the mid cap portion of the Dow Jones U.S. Total Stock Market index actually available to investors in the marketplace. The Mid-Cap Index includes the components ranked 501-1000 by full market capitalization. The fund was launched in November 2005. The expense ratio is 0.25%. AUM equal $72 M and average daily trading volume is less than 4K shares.

As of May 2012 the annual dividend yield was 0.90% and YTD return 8.80%. The 1 YR return was -4.25%.

Data as of May 2012

EMM Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Kansas City Southern, Inc. : 0.50%
  • Macerich Company : 0.48%
  • Digital Realty Trust, Inc. : 0.47%
  • Wyndham Worldwide Corporation : 0.46%
  • Equinix, Inc. : 0.45%
  • Church & Dwight Company, Inc. : 0.43%
  • United Continental Holdings Inc : 0.43%
  • SL Green Realty Corporation : 0.42%
  • Tractor Supply (TSCO): 0.42%
  • Eastman Chemical Company : 0.41%

#7: First Trust Core AlphaDEX ETF (FNX)

FNX follows the Defined Mid-Cap Core Index which is an "enhanced" index created and administered by Standard & Poor's which employs the AlphaDEX stock selection methodology to select stocks from the S&P MidCap 400 Index. The fund was launched in May 2007. The expense ratio is 0.70%. AUM equal $315 M and average daily trading volume is 75K shares.

As of late January 2012 the annual dividend yield was 0.47% and YTD return 6.99%. The 1YR return was -4.12%.

Data as of May 2012

FNX Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS): 0.86%
  • United Rentals Inc (URI): 0.72%
  • Janus Capital Group, Inc. (JNS): 0.70%
  • Exelis Inc (XLS): 0.69%
  • HollyFrontier Corp : 0.68%
  • Skyworks Solutions, Inc. (SWKS): 0.68%
  • Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. (VSH): 0.67%
  • Thomas & Betts Corporation (TNB): 0.65%
  • Timken Company (TKR): 0.65%
  • Integrated Device Technology (IDTI): 0.65%

#6: SPDR S&P Mid Cap ETF (MDY)

MDY follows the S&P Mid Cap 400 Index. It was launched in April 1995. The expense ratio is 0.25%. AUM (Assets under Management) equal $9.312 M with average daily trading volume just under 2.49 M shares.

As of May 2012 the annual dividend yield was 0.72% and YTD return was 9.96%. The 1YR return was -3.55%.

Data as of May 2012

MDY Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Monster Beverage Corp (MNST): 0.79%
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN): 0.75%
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX): 0.73%
  • Kansas City Southern, Inc. : 0.66%
  • Ametek, Inc. (AME): 0.66%
  • Macerich Company : 0.64%
  • Equinix, Inc. : 0.62%
  • Church & Dwight Company, Inc. : 0.59%
  • Fossil, Inc. (FOSL): 0.58%
  • Henry Schein, Inc. (HSIC): 0.57%

#5: iShares Mid Cap ETF (IJH)

IJH follows the S&P Mid Cap 400 Index. It was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is lower at 0.20%. AUM of $10.329 M and average daily trading volume is 878K shares. As of May 2012 the annual dividend yield was .92% and YTD return was 9.87%.

The 1 YR return was -3.47%. IJH trades commission free at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity and First Trade.

Data as of May 2012

IJH Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. : 0.87%
  • Monster Beverage Corp : 0.83%
  • Kansas City Southern, Inc. : 0.72%
  • Macerich Company : 0.69%
  • Vertex Pharmaceuticals : 0.68%
  • Ametek, Inc. : 0.68%
  • Equinix, Inc. : 0.65%
  • Church & Dwight Company, Inc. : 0.61%
  • SL Green Realty Corporation : 0.60%
  • Tractor Supply : 0.59%

#4: Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF (VO)

VO follows the MSCI US Mid Cap 450 Index which represents the universe of mid-capitalization companies in the U.S. equity market. The fund was launched in January 2004. The expense ratio is 0.10%. AUM equals $3.652 M and average daily trading volume is 189K 9.61.

The 1 YR return was -2.25%. VO trades commission free at Vanguard and TD Ameritrade.

Data as of First Quarter 2012

VO Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Humana (HUM): 0.67%
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALXN): 0.61%
  • FMC Technologies, Inc. (FTI): 0.58%
  • AvalonBay Communities Inc (AVB): 0.56%
  • Fastenal Company (FAST): 0.56%
  • SanDisk Corp (SNDK): 0.54%
  • W.W. Grainger, Inc. (GWW): 0.51%
  • Ross Stores, Inc. (ROST): 0.51%
  • Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (MMI): 0.50%
  • O'Reilly Automotive Inc (ORLY): 0.50%

#3: Vanguard Extended Market ETF (VXF)

VXF follows the S&P Completion Index represents mid- and small-capitalization stocks in the U.S. equity market. The index in sum is a blend of both small and mid-cap constituents. The fund was launched in December 2001. The expense ratio is 0.14%. AUM equal $1.385 M and average daily trading volume is 124K shares.

As of May 2012 the annual dividend yield was 1.01% and YTD return was 9.82%. The 1 YR return was -4.50%. VXF trades commission free at Vanguard and TD Ameritrade.

Data as of May 2012

VXF Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS): 0.68%
  • Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. : 0.52%
  • General Motors Co (GM): 0.50%
  • Crown Castle International Corp (CCI): 0.44%
  • LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB): 0.41%
  • Liberty Media Corporation A (LMCA): 0.39%
  • Concho Resources, Inc. (CXO): 0.38%
  • Pharmasset, Inc. (VRUS): 0.38%
  • General Growth Properties Inc (GGP): 0.35%
  • Bunge Ltd (BG): 0.33%

#2: iShares Morningstar Mid-Core ETF (JKG)

JKG follows the Morningstar Mid-Core Index which measures the performance of mid cap stocks that have exhibited average growth and value characteristics. The fund was launched in June 2004. The expense ratio is 0.25%. AUM equal $151 M and average daily trading volume is 11K shares.

As of May 2012 the annual dividend yield is 0.98% and YTD return 9.32%. 1 YR return was 0.31%.

Data as of May 2012

JKG Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • Ingersoll-Rand PLC (IR): 1.30%
  • Harley-Davidson Inc (HOG): 1.19%
  • Health Care REIT, Inc. (HCN): 1.17%
  • Host Hotels & Resorts Inc (HST): 1.15%
  • Dover Corporation (DOV): 1.14%
  • Analog Devices Inc (ADI): 1.14%
  • Zimmer Holdings Inc (ZMH): 1.10%
  • Murphy Oil Corporation (MUR): 1.04%
  • Sherwin-Williams Company (SHW): 1.03%
  • Northern Trust Corporation (NTRS): 1.01%

#1: iShares Russell Mid Cap ETF (IWR)

IWR follows the Russell Mid Cap Index. The fund was launched in July 2001. The expense ratio is 0.23%. AUM equal $6.682 M and average daily trading volume is 365K shares.

As May 2012 the annual dividend yield was 1.12% and YTD return was 8.65%. The 1 YR return was -3.49%.

Data as of May 2012

IWR Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  • El Paso Corporation (EP): 0.54%
  • Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG): 0.54%
  • Spectra Energy Corp (SE): 0.48%
  • Ecolab, Inc. (ECL): 0.46%
  • Discover Financial Services (DFS): 0.44%
  • Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC): 0.44%
  • Lorillard, Inc. (LO): 0.44%
  • Equity Residential (EQR): 0.43%
  • Intuit, Inc. (INTU): 0.42%
  • Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc. (BBBY): 0.42%


We rank the top 10 ETFs by our proprietary stars system as outlined below. However, given that we're sorting these by both short and intermediate issues we have split the rankings as we move from one classification to another.


Strong established linked index
Excellent consistent performance and index tracking
Low fee structure
Strong portfolio suitability
Excellent liquidity


Established linked index even if "enhanced"
Good performance or more volatile if "enhanced" index
Average to higher fee structure
Good portfolio suitability or more active management if "enhanced" index
Decent liquidity


Enhanced or seasoned index
Less consistent performance and more volatile
Fees higher than average
Portfolio suitability would need more active trading
Average to below average liquidity


Index is new
Issue is new and needs seasoning
Fees are high
Portfolio suitability also needs seasoning
Liquidity below average

Other than fees and/or liquidity there isn't much to distinguish those in the overall top 10 list which is common for major index linked ETFs overall. Nevertheless this list does distinguish itself from the 30 others in the category.

Once again it's our strong belief in technical issues due to two bear markets in the past decade not to mention severe volatility in 2011. DeMark Indicators add a measure of safety if only to sleep well at night which for many is an important risk management issue.

It's also important to remember that ETF sponsors have their own competitive business interests when issuing products which may not necessarily align with your investment needs. New ETFs from highly regarded and substantial new providers are also being issued. These may include Charles Schwab's ETFs and Scottrade's Focus Shares which both are issuing new ETFs with low expense ratios and commission free trading at their respective firms. These may also become popular as they become seasoned.

Disclosure:I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: Top 10 Mid Cap ETFs