A Fund That Spans All American Stocks

This week’s featured fund is broader than some of those covered previously in our current series about the world’s largest exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The market’s fourth-largest ETF is simply one to invest in when you think times are good and things are looking up across the board in the United States: Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI).

VTI is less discriminatory than the other U.S. funds we have examined, since it tracks an index that includes nearly every stock in the U.S. market that is open to investment. The fund’s holdings run the gamut from large to small and value- to growth-oriented. It only seems reasonable that this fund would have as low an expense ratio (0.05%) as it does, which makes it an inexpensive way to invest in a basket so broad that most investors could not emulate it with their own limited assets, especially since the fund is weighted more heavily towards larger companies.

U.S. markets in general performed quite well in 2014, as evidenced by VTI’s 10.51% gain for the year. Investing trends of the past year are reflected in the graph seen below. The 2014 September-October slump is clearly visible, as are all the other sweeping moves in the U.S. market last year. VTI holds $50.5 billion in assets managed. The fund pays a modest 1.76% dividend yield.

As VTI is a compendium of the U.S. stock market, its holdings essentially reflect the market. The largest industries are technology, 17.46%; financial services, 14.87%; and healthcare, 14.34%. VTI’s largest positions make up 13.96% of the portfolio. These positions include Apple Inc. (AAPL), 2.85%; Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM), 1.72%; Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), 1.52%; Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), 1.29%; and Wells Fargo & Company (WFC), 1.25%.

Many investors interested in profiting as the entire market increases in value choose Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI). It could be an option for your portfolio as well.

If you want my advice about buying and selling specific ETFs, including appropriate stop losses, please consider subscribing to my Successful ETF Investing newsletter. As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week on Eagle Daily Investor about the biggest international ETF. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below my Eagle Daily Investor commentary.