This posting features a comprehensive review of the large-cap ETF sector. In this category there aren't many more ETFs than just the 10 we've featured given the tsunami of ETF issuance. Nevertheless, to simplify matters for investors, and to be consistent with previous practices, we're still just highlighting what we feel are the top 10 choices . Doing so makes sorting through the sector more manageable for most investors.

The issues chosen represent a broad cross section of domestic issues from a variety of sponsors. Most issues are seasoned being issued long ago with substantial assets under management and good liquidity. We're not necessarily recommending one issue over another; rather we're just trying to feature those issues that aren't repetitive. If other choices are available these are mentioned where applicable.

Within this sector we have combined choices for growth, value and a blend of these styles. There are occasional periods when value outperforms growth and vice versa; but, even over even intermediate periods they tend to achieve the same total return. Others may disagree about this conclusion citing studies demonstrating superior returns of one to the other. However, most of these experiences are transitory and are driven by various economic conditions including monetary policies and the overall market environment. But, some investors wish to pursue what they believe is a more conservative value approach while others prefer growth both choices are understandable. Again, you are free to choose what suits your own style and objectives best.

For those wishing to hedge or speculate ProShares and DirexionShares offer inverse short and leveraged long/short issues.

SPY (SPDR S&P 500 ETF) tracks the S&P 500 Index. It holds the distinction of being the original ETF created by Nate Most for the AMEX in January 1993. (Nate passed away at the age of 90 in 2004 a few months after we had a wonderful lunch with him. The expense ratio is only .09%.  AUM (Assets under Management) equal $92 billion and average daily trading volume is over 280M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the dividend is $1.92 making the current yield 2% and YTD return -4.33%.

 

Competitive choices would be IVV (iShares S&P 500 ETF) and could also include (VIG (Vanguard Large Cap Blend ETF) among others.

Data as of September 2011

SPY Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 3.27%
  2. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 3.19%
  3. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 1.87%
  4. Chevron Corp (CVX): 1.78%
  5. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 1.77%
  6. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 1.62%
  7. The Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.59%
  8. General Electric Co (GE): 1.55%
  9. AT&T Inc (T): 1.51%
  10. The Coca-Cola Co (KO): 1.45%

RSP (Rydex S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF) also follows the S&P 500 Index but breaks the index up into equal weights vs weighted SPY and IVV. Generally, we prefer using RSP for our portfolios when long given upside returns have been marginally superior. RSP was launched in April 2003. The expense ratio is .40%. AUM equal $2.6 billion and average daily trading volume is 1.5M shares. As of mid-September 20011 the dividend yield is over 1.5% and YTD return -5.43%.

Data as of September 2011

RSP Top Ten Holdings & Holdings

  1. Ssga Gov Mm Fd Ssga Government Money Market: 0.42%
  2. Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (MMI): 0.33%
  3. CF Industries Holdings Inc (CF): 0.28%
  4. Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation A (COG): 0.27%
  5. MasterCard Incorporated A (MA): 0.26%
  6. Range Resources Corporation (RRC): 0.26%
  7. AutoNation Inc (AN): 0.26%
  8. Newmont Mining Corporation (NEM): 0.26%
  9. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 0.25%
  10. EQT Corp. (EQT): 0.25%

IWB (iShares Russell 1000 Index ETF) tracks largest 1000 stocks within the Russell Index. The fund was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is .15%. AUM equals $6.4 billion and daily trading volume is roughly 1.8M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the dividend yield based on current prices is 2.02% and YTD return -4.08%.

 

Data as of September 2011

IWB Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 2.88%
  2. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 2.81%
  3. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 1.65%
  4. Chevron Corp (CVX): 1.57%
  5. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 1.56%
  6. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 1.43%
  7. The Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.40%
  8. General Electric Co (GE): 1.37%
  9. AT&T Inc (T): 1.33%
  10. Pfizer Inc (PFE): 1.18%

 

IWF (iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF) follows the top 1000 growth stocks within the Russell 3000 Index. The fund was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is .20%. AUM equal $13 billion with average daily trading volume 3.6M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend is $.84 making current yield 1.50% and YTD return -.84%.

Data as of September 2011

IWF Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 5.58%
  2. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 4.22%
  3. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 3.27%
  4. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 3.10%
  5. The Coca-Cola Co (KO): 2.18%
  6. Google, Inc. (GOOG): 2.14%
  7. Philip Morris International, Inc. (PM): 1.75%
  8. Oracle Corporation (ORCL): 1.69%
  9. Schlumberger NV (SLB): 1.66%
  10. PepsiCo Inc (PEP): 1.60%

IVW (iShares S&P 500 Growth ETF) tracks the growth sector of the stocks in the S&P 500 Index. The fund was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is .18%. AUM equal $6.4 billion and average daily trading volume is over 990K shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend is $1.00 making the current yield roughly 1.50% and YTD return .20%.

 

Among others, alternative choices may include VV (Vanguard Large-Cap ETF) which follows the MSCI US Prime Market 750 Index.

Data as of September 2011

IVW Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 6.08%
  2. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 3.56%
  3. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 3.37%
  4. The Coca-Cola Co (KO): 2.76%
  5. Google, Inc. (GOOG): 2.32%
  6. Philip Morris International, Inc. (PM): 2.11%
  7. Oracle Corporation (ORCL): 1.87%
  8. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 1.85%
  9. Schlumberger NV (SLB): 1.81%
  10. PepsiCo Inc (PEP): 1.74%

 

PWC (PowerShares Dynamic Market ETF) follows the Dynamic Market Intellidex Index which is and "enhanced" index comprised of U.S. stocks from each sector identified as having the greatest capital appreciation potential pursuant to a proprietary Amex Intellidex quantitative methodology. These characteristics include lower price to book, higher dividends and lower PE ratios among other considerations. The fund was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is .22$. AUM equal $140M and average daily trading volume less than 15K shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend yield was roughly 1.73% and YTD return -8.73%.

 

Data as of September 2011

PWC Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Chevron Corp (CVX): 4.80%
  2. Valero Energy Corporation (VLO): 4.45%
  3. Philip Morris International, Inc. (PM): 3.63%
  4. Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): 3.46%
  5. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF): 3.31%
  6. Dell Inc (DELL): 2.79%
  7. KBR, Inc. (KBR): 2.70%
  8. Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC): 2.62%
  9. The Western Union Company (WU): 2.58%
  10. Duke Energy Corporation (DUK): 2.44

 

DIA (SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF) follows the popular Dow Jones Industrial Average Index of 30 stocks which is a "price-weighted" Index meaning the highest priced stocks carry more weight which you can see in the top holdings below. The fund was launched in January 1998. The expense ratio is .16%. AUM equal $9.6 billion and average daily trading volume is 10M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend yield is currently 3.40% and YTD return -1.3%. .

Data as of September 2011

DIA Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 11.18%
  2. Chevron Corp (CVX): 6.43%
  3. Caterpillar Inc (CAT): 5.92%
  4. McDonald's Corporation (MCD): 5.88%
  5. 3M Co (MMM): 5.40%
  6. United Technologies Corp (UTX): 4.83%
  7. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 4.82%
  8. The Coca-Cola Co (KO): 4.58%
  9. The Boeing Co (BA): 4.35%
  10. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 4.28%

IVE (iShares S&P 500 Value ETF) follows the S&P 500/Citigroup Value Index which carves out those securities with value characteristics from the S&P 500 index. The fund was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is .19%. AUM equals $3.7 billion and average daily trading volume exceeds 486K shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend yield is 2.33% and YTD return -8.06%.

 

Alternative choices could include VTV (Vanguard Value ETF), MGV (Vanguard Mega-Cap Value ETF), JKF (iShares Morningstar Large Value ETF), IWX (iShares Russell Top 200 Value), FTA (First Trust Large Cap Value), SCHV (Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF), SPYV (SPDR S&P 500 Value ETF) and RPV (Rydex S&P 500 Pure Value ETF). Note: Long MGV.

Data as of September 2011

IVE Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 6.91%
  2. Chevron Corp (CVX): 3.76%
  3. General Electric Co (GE): 3.28%
  4. Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.84%
  5. JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM): 2.83%
  6. Berkshire Hathaway Inc B (BRK.B): 2.39%
  7. Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT): 1.92%
  8. AT&T Inc (T): 1.85%
  9. ConocoPhillips (COP): 1.82%
  10. The Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.75%

 

We move now to include what would be "total" or "broad" market ETFs which include Large, Mid and Small Cap issues linked to well-known indexes. Taken as a whole they cover a segment that can be included within this theme's analysis.

 

VTI (Vanguard Total Market ETF) tracks the MSCI U.S. Broad Market Index. The index represents 99.5% of the total market capitalization of the U.S. common stocks traded on the major markets. The fund was launched in May 2001. The expense ratio is only.07%. AUM equal $18.5 billion and average daily trading volume exceeds 3.2M shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend yield is 2.55% and YTD return -4.45%.

 

Data as of September 2011

VTI Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 2.69%
  2. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 2.06%
  3. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 1.39%
  4. Chevron Corp (CVX): 1.37%
  5. General Electric Co (GE): 1.33%
  6. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 1.31%
  7. AT&T Inc (T): 1.24%
  8. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 1.21%
  9. The Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.19%
  10. Pfizer Inc (PFE): 1.10%

IWV (iShares Russell 3000 Index ETF) follows this index which is capitalization-weighted consisting of the largest 3000 companies in the U.S. The fund was launched in May 2000. The expense ratio is .21%. AUM equal $2.9 billion and average daily trading volume is over 400K shares. As of mid-September 2011 the annual dividend yield 1.90% and YTD return is -4.54%.

Data as of September 2011

IWV Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 2.65%
  2. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 2.59%
  3. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 1.51%
  4. Chevron Corp (CVX): 1.45%
  5. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 1.44%
  6. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 1.31%
  7. The Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.29%
  8. General Electric Co (GE): 1.26%
  9. AT&T Inc (T): 1.23%
  10. Pfizer Inc (PFE): 1.09%

IYY (iShares Dow Jones Total Market ETF) follows the Dow Jones U.S. Index which measures the total U.S. market. The fund was launched in June 2000. The expense ratio is .21%. AUM is equal $528 million with average daily trading volume of roughly 83K shares. As of mid-September the annual dividend yield is 1.79% and YTD return -4.13%.

Data as of September 2011

IYY Top Ten Holdings & Weightings

  1. Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 2.80%
  2. Apple, Inc. (AAPL): 2.71%
  3. International Business Machines Corp (IBM): 1.61%
  4. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): 1.53%
  5. Chevron Corp (CVX): 1.52%
  6. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 1.38%
  7. The Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.37%
  8. General Electric Co (GE): 1.34%
  9. AT&T Inc (T): 1.30%
  10. Pfizer Inc (PFE): 1.18%

These are the index related ETFs that make headlines overall. With these issues growth opportunities, overall asset appreciation and perhaps increases in dividends are possible.

We're not ranking these ETFs although we use a few of them in portfolios. Nevertheless, most of these feature similar trends and this is heavily affected by Fed monetary policies in effect since 2009. These policies have resulted in high sector to sector correlations making choices for now inconsequential.

As stated with other sectors, remember ETF sponsors must issue and their interests aren't aligned with yours. They have a business interest and wish to have a competitive presence in any popular sector.

For further information about portfolio structures using technical indicators like DeMark and other indicators see www.etfdigest.com . You may follow us on Facebook as well and join our group conversations.

You may address any feedback to: feedback@etfdigest.com   

The ETF Digest has no current position in the featured securities.

(Source for data is from ETF sponsors and various ETF data providers.)
This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

Dave Fry is founder and publisher of ETF Digest, Dave's Daily blog and the best-selling book author of Create Your Own ETF Hedge Fund, A DIY Strategy for Private Wealth Management, published by Wiley Finance in 2008. A detailed bio is here: Dave Fry.