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Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

ETFs with More Assets May Be Best

For large-cap growth, there is the iShares 1000 Growth Index Fund (IWF) and the iShares S&P 500 Growth Index Fund (IVW). On the value side of large cap, there is the iShares 1000 Value Index Fund (IWD) and the iShares S&P 500 Value Index Fund (IVE).

Similarly broad representation is available in the table for small cap and mid cap investments.

International representation varies from the broad geographic coverage of the iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA) to the subcategory of emerging markets -- the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Funds (EEM) and the Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) -- to other ETFs specializing in Japan, Brazil and China.

For fixed-income needs, the list contains a short-term Treasury fund, an inflation-protected Treasury fund and an investment grade general bond fund.

Sector funds in the table include gold and energy.

The large ETFs in the table have generally served their holders well by returning, on average, 8.88% over the 12 months ended Feb. 29. That compares with a negative total return of 3.60% for the S&P 500 total-return index, and an average of minus 1.44% for the ETFs that didn't make the biggest-25 list. Helping the largest of the breed was an average expense ratio of only 0.28%, which amounts to half the average levy extracted by the remaining ETFs.

The largest 25 ETFs also held closer in market prices to their respective NAVs, on average, than the remaining funds.

The ETFs in the table represent 59.9% of the total net assets of all ETFs.

NUMBER OF FUNDS * 649 6,949 641
AGGREGATE NET ASSETS ($MIL) * 561.4 7,826.2 257.7
1% OF FUNDS 34.4 18.3 8.1
5% OF FUNDS 64.6 38.5 26.4
10% OF FUNDS 79.1 49.5 40.0
25% OF FUNDS 93.6 65.8 64.9
* Open-end mutual fund totals exclude money market funds. A fund with multiple share classes is counted as one fund.
Source: Ratings. Data as of 2/29/2008.
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) C+ 73,767.6 -3.27 0.10 0.01 1/29/1993
iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA) C+ 46,326.6 -0.96 0.34 0.13 8/14/2001
PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ) C- 21,766.7 -0.59 0.20 0.01 3/9/1999
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM) C+ 18,198.4 28.93 0.74 0.05 4/7/2003
iShares S&P 500 Index Fund (IVV) B- 17,901.1 -3.55 0.09 0.00 5/15/2000
streetTRACKS Gold Shares ETF (GLD) A+ 15,162.1 44.68 0.40 0.23 11/18/2004
iShares Russell 1000 Growth Index Fund (IWF) C+ 13,130.8 0.27 0.20 0.03 5/22/2000
iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM) D 12,719.1 -11.79 0.20 -0.05 5/22/2000
iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ) C 11,780.0 -14.20 0.52 -0.16 3/12/1996
SPDR Mid Cap 400 (MDY) B 9,887.6 -4.70 0.25 -0.01 5/4/1995
iShares Russell 1000 Value Index Fund (IWD) B 9,651.8 -8.06 0.20 -0.03 5/22/2000
DIAMONDS Trust (DIA) B 9,284.2 2.46 0.18 0.02 1/27/1998
Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI) C+ 8,563.1 -3.80 0.07 0.00 5/24/2001
iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund (DVY) B- 7,656.4 -13.73 0.40 0.04 11/3/2003
iShares Lehman 1-3Yr Treasury Bond Fund (SHY) B 7,494.3 9.28 0.15 0.07 7/22/2002
iShares Lehman Aggregate Fund (AGG) B- 6,641.1 7.23 0.20 0.31 9/22/2003
Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) B+ 6,274.8 31.63 0.25 0.41 3/10/2005
iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 Index Fund (FXI) B+ 5,850.9 48.42 0.74 0.00 10/5/2004
iShares S&P 500 Growth Index Fund (IVW) C+ 5,735.9 -0.64 0.18 0.01 5/22/2000
iShares S&P Small Cap 600 Index Fund (IJR) D+ 5,115.4 -9.31 0.20 0.02 5/22/2000
iShares S&P Mid Cap 400 Index Fund (IJH) C 4,991.9 -5.06 0.20 0.01 5/22/2000
Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE) A+ 4,882.5 35.16 0.23 -0.04 12/14/1998
iShares Lehman TIPS Bond Fund (TIP) B+ N.A. 15.03 0.20 0.15 12/4/2003
iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ) B 4,434.3 85.11 0.68 0.18 7/10/2000
iShares S&P 500 Value Index Fund (IVE) B 4,404.3 -6.60 0.18 0.01 5/22/2000
AVERAGE OF 25 LARGEST ETFs * 13,444.01 8.88 0.28 0.08 10/13/2000
AVERAGE OF REMAINING ETFs * 361.10 -1.44 0.56 0.15 8/29/2005
Source: Ratings

Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for Ratings. Prior to joining, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.
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