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Large-Cap ETFs Weather Stock Slump

Large-cap ETFs are becoming more attractive by the day.

The topsy-turvy conditions of the S&P 500 have pushed the CBOE Volatility Index up by 21% in the past month as investors brace for a tough road ahead. This uptick in volatility is providing a strong case to take cover in large-company shares, which are at the heart of well-balanced portfolios built to hold up in stormy weather.

Adriana Posada, a portfolio manager of the American Beacon Large Cap Value Fund (AAGPX), stresses the importance large-cap equities. "They should be the bedrock of an individual investor's portfolio because they tend to be less volatile," she said.

Posada notes that an ETF or mutual fund can prove to be a cost-effective method to obtaining large-cap exposure. "Buying a basket of stocks is a very good option," she said. "It can be difficult for an individual investor to build a diverse portfolio if they do not have a high net worth."

Large-cap ETFs such as the iShares S&P 500 Index (IVV) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQQ), which track the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 Index, respectively, have had a rough go so far in 2008. These funds are down 14.4% and 15.0%, respectively. Last year, they rose 3.3% and 17.9%.

Large-cap ETFs that subscribe to a particular investing style have not fared any better. For instance, the Vanguard Growth ETF (VUG), a fund comprised predominantly of large-cap names such as Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), has declined 13% year-to-date. The picture for value has been equally sluggish. The Vanguard Value ETF (VTV), which holds names such as ExxonMobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX) and Pfizer (PFE), has slid 16%.

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