An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is an investment fund traded on stock exchanges, much like stocks. An ETF holds assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds, and trades close to its net asset value over the course of the trading day.
TYPES OF ETF’S:
INDEX ETF’S: Most ETFs are index funds that hold securities and attempt to replicate the performance of a stock market index. 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.
COMMODITY ETF’S: Commodity ETFs (ETCs or CETFs) invest in commodities, such as precious metals and futures. Among the first commodity ETFs were gold exchange-traded funds, which have been offered in a number of countries. The idea of a Gold ETF was first officially conceptualized by Benchmark Asset Management Company Private Ltd in India when they filed a proposal with the SEBI in May 2002. The first gold exchange-traded fund was Gold Bullion Securities launched on the ASX in 2003, and the first silver exchange-traded fund was iShares Silver Trust launched on the NYSE in 2006.
BOND ETF’S: 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 (for example, government treasury bonds or those issues by companies regarded as financially stable). Because of this cause and effect relationship, the performance of bond ETFs may be indicative of broader economic conditions. 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.
CURRENCY ETF’S: In 2005, Rydex Investments launched the first ever currency ETF called the Euro Currency Trust (NYSE: FXE) in New York. The funds are total return products where the investor gets access to the FX spot change, local institutional interest rates and a collateral yield.
ACTIVELY MANAGED ETF’S: Actively managed ETFs (AMETFs) are quite recent in the United States. The first one was offered in March 2008 but was liquidated in October 2008. The fully transparent nature of existing ETFs means that an actively managed ETF is at risk from arbitrage activities by market participants who might choose to front run its trades.
EXCHANGE-TRADED GRANTOR TRUSTS: An exchange-traded grantor trust share represents a direct interest in a static basket of stocks selected from a particular industry. The leading example is Holding Company Depositary Receipts, or HOLDRs, a proprietary Merrill Lynch product. HOLDRs are neither index funds nor actively managed; rather, the investor has a direct interest in specific underlying stocks. While HOLDRs have some qualities in common with ETFs, including low costs, low turnover, and tax efficiency, many observers consider HOLDRs to be a separate product from ETFs.
LEVERAGED ETF’S: Leveraged exchange-traded funds (LETFs), or simply leveraged ETFs, are a special type of ETF that attempt to achieve returns that are more sensitive to market movements than non-leveraged ETFs. Leveraged index ETFs are often marketed as bull or bear funds.