ETF screener

by: Roger Nusbaum - Our New ETF Screener Narrows the Field

I read this article this morning and was a little baffled. Morningstar has an ETF screener, writes Roger Nusbaum.

First I ran the screen for utilities, there are three ETFs, it did not include the UTH HOLDRs because it is technically a different product. The most expensive of the three was not the worst performing (I should note that all three have very similar numbers). For natural resources the cheapest was the best performer but again the most expensive was not the worst. In looking at all the domestic sectors I did not see where expenses were a determinant factor of returns.

When I plugged in Foreign value all it brought up was iShares Canada. Huh? For European stock it had 16 ETFs including what I think was all of the single country ETFs. I'm not sure what the benefit is of comparing the ETF for Spain to Italy or the Netherlands.

The point is that I don't think ETFs lend themselves to qualitative screens. If an investor wants to own a specific country it makes no sense to compare to another country ETF. It does make sense to compare to a CEF that invests in the same country though.