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An ETF Cheat Sheet for Major Domestic Stock Categories

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"Pundits and other know-it-alls blithely urge us to build a diversified portfolio of stock funds, but they rarely if ever show us how. In a way, these folks are dropping wood, hammers and saws on our lawns with a note saying they'll pick up the ark on Wednesday."[/:Author:]
-Ian MacDonald (aka The Fund Junkie), thestreet.com mutual fund columnist

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) make great tools for building a a reasonably diversified portfolio of U.S. stocks on the cheap, particularly for those making lump sum investments. However, with 102 domestic ETFs trading at last count, some investors may feel overwhelmed by all the options. So let's sort things out a little by grouping the funds for each major domestic asset class. But before we do that, let's see what the typical mutual fund charges in expenses for each category.

Category
Expense Ratio*
Large Blend
1.23%
Large Growth
1.46%
Large Value
1.41%
Mid-Cap Blend
1.41%
Mid-Cap Growth
1.53%
Mid-Cap Value
1.44%
Small Blend
1.44%
Small Growth
1.61%
Small Value
1.51%

*average fund expense ratio, Morningstar

In most cases, there are several ETF options covering an asset class. A good rule to keep in mind is that for the most part an ETF is only as good as the index it tracks. Each index provider has its own rules for classifying size and style, and it's a good idea to understand how the index works first. The major index providers explain the methodology behind their benchmarks on their websites.

Large-Cap Blend
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
SPY
0.12%
S&P 500
IVV
0.09%
S&P 500
FFF
0.20%
Fortune 500
DIA
0.18%
DJ Industrial Av.
IWB
0.15%
Russell 1000


Large-Cap Growth
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
streetTRACKS Dow Jones Large Cap Growth
ELG
0.20%
Dow Jones Large Cap Growth
iShares Russell 1000 Growth
IWF
0.20%
Russell 1000 Growth
iShares S&P 500/Barra Growth
IVW
0.18%
S&P 500/Barra Growth


Large-Cap Value
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
streetTRACKS Dow Jones Large Cap Value
ELV
0.20%
Dow Jones Large Cap Value
iShares Russell 1000 Value
IWD
0.20%
Russell 1000 Value
iShares S&P 500/Barra Value
IVE
0.18%
S&P 500/Barra Value


Mid-Cap Blend
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
iShares Russell Midcap
IWR
0.20%
Russell Midcap
iShares S&P MidCap 400
IJH
0.20%
S&P MidCap 400
MidCap SPDRs
MDY
0.25%
S&P MidCap 400
Extended Market VIPERs Index Fund
VXF
0.20%
Wilshire 4500


Mid-Cap Growth
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
iShares Russell Midcap Growth
IWP
0.25%
Russell Midcap Growth
iShares S&P MidCap 400/Barra Growth
IJK
0.25%
S&P MidCap 400/Barra Growth


Mid-Cap Value
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
IWS
0.25%
Russell Midcap Value
IJJ
0.25%
S&P MidCap 400/Barra Value


Small-Cap Blend
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
iShares Russell 2000
IWM
0.20%
Russell 2000
iShares S&P SmallCap 600
IJR
0.20%
S&P SmallCap 600


Small-Cap Growth
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
streetTRACKS Dow Jones Small Cap Growth
DSG
0.25%
Dow JonesSmall Cap Growth
iShares Russell 2000 Growth
IWO
0.25%
Russell 2000 Growth
iShares S&P SmallCap 600/Barra Growth
IJT
0.25%
S&P SmallCap 600/Barra Growth


Small-Cap Value
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
streetTRACKS Dow Jones Small Cap Value
DSV
0.25%
Dow Jones Small Cap Value
iShares Russell 2000 Value
IWN
0.25%
Russell 2000 Value
iShares S&P SmallCap 600/Barra Value
IJS
0.25%
S&P SmallCap 600/Barra Value

Finally, for those who want to keep it really simple and hold fewer funds, here's a list of ETFs tied to broad indexes that cover large slices of the market. Barclays Global Investors also offers iShares based on style indexes for the total market (Russell 3000), as shown below.

Total Market ETFs
ETF name
Ticker
Expense ratio
Benchmark
Vanguard Total Stock Market VIPERs
VTI
0.15%
Wilshire 5000
iShares Russell 3000
IWV
0.20%
Russell 3000
iShares Russell 3000 Growth
IWZ
0.25%
Russell 3000 Growth
iShares Russell 3000 Value
IWW
0.25%
Russell 3000 Value
iShares DJ US Total Market
IYY
0.20%
DJ US Total Market

Well, there it is: a Cliff's Notes of ETFs for the major domestic stock categories in our style-box dominated world. Just remember, this list doesn't include stock sector funds, bond funds, international funds, REIT funds, and other investment categories that could be included in a diversified portfolio. For most categories, there are ETFs available or there will be soon. To check out the full range of existing exchange-traded funds, take advantage of our ETF Screener.