The case for index investing rests on the index fund's cost advantage and how representative it is of its actively managed peers, not market efficiency.
Parsing the details of index methodologies is central to understanding the processes of index funds and ETFs and informs our overall assessment of these funds' investment merit.
These index funds and ETFs provide a lot of diversification at a very low cost.
IShares Russell 2000 ETF may be the most popular small-cap ETF, but the index it tracks has underperformed other small-cap indexes.
The index's popularity and concentrated turnover put it at a disadvantage to its peers.
The four largest small-blend exchange-traded funds each have something to offer passive investors looking to overweight small-cap stocks.
Steady dividend-payers may be under some pressure as interest rates rise in the nearer term, but that's no reason to dump them, says Morningstar analyst Alex Bryan.
Lending programs generate fees that can offset some of a fund's operating costs.
Some of our analysts' favorites pay below-average dividends but otherwise impress.
Readers cite lower costs, lower investment minimums, access to sectors among reasons they've turned to exchange-traded funds.