Monday, December 21, 2009

ETFs Increasingly Dominate Trading

During the course of 2009, my trading transitioned from a lifelong habit of focusing primarily on single stocks to rapidly making exchange-traded funds (ETFs) my favored means by which to trade stocks and options. Just three years ago, ETFs accounted for less than 10% of my trading. In 2009, that number will be close to 80%.

The headline above could just as well apply to ETFs as a whole, where there are now over 100 issues that average in excess of one million shares traded per day. Just using ETFs from the million share club, an investor can go long or short stocks, use leverage, pick from a wide variety of sectors, tackle geographies as off the beaten track as Malaysia, make use of junk bonds and inflation-protected bonds, dive into commodities or real estate, and even take a position on the VIX. Better yet, most of these ETFs have options associated with them, which further broadens the investing opportunities that are available.

I am particularly fond of ETFs because of the broad range of asset classes, sectors, geographies and other investment ideas they make easily accessible. For the options trader, ETFs are a boon because these investment vehicles all but eliminate single stock risk in the form of earnings, M&A activity, executive shuffles, legal matters and a myriad of other company-specific events.

In 2010 I intend to give more attention to ETFs in this space in hopes of educating and encouraging those for whom the rapidly expanding ETF universe is a good fit for their trading goals and approaches.

For more on related subjects, readers are encouraged to check out:

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