How to invest in USA using ETFs

How do I invest in American stocks?

The easiest way to invest in the whole American stock market is to invest in a broad market index. This can be done at low cost by using ETFs.

On the American stock market you find 5 indices, which are tracked by ETFs. Besides these indices 11 alternative indices on small and mid caps as well as equity strategies can be considered. Among these strategies you find dividend focused, growth and values approaches.

Alternatively, you may consider indices on North America or the World. The listed indices significantly weight the USA with over 50%.

0.05% p.a. - 0.50% p.a.
annual total expense ratio (TER) of USA ETFs
on the American stock market, which is tracked by ETFs
on the American stock market
The best indices for USA ETFs

Performance of American stocks (S&P 500®)

1 month: 4.88%
1 year: 26.72%
3 years: 53.04%
5 years: 109.24%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on USA

For an investment in the American stock market, 5 indices tracked by 33 ETFs are available. On the Dow Jones Industrial Average index there are 3 ETFs. On the MSCI USA index there are 14 ETFs. On the MSCI USA Large Cap index there is 1 ETF. On the Russell 3000® index there is 1 ETF. On the S&P 500® index there are 14 ETFs. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on these indices is between 0.05% p.a. and 0.50% p.a..

Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description

Dow Jones Industrial Average

United States 3 ETFs 30
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (total return|gross) index tracks the largest 30 industrial companies in the US.
Index factsheet

MSCI USA

United States 14 ETFs 617
(31/10/16)
The MSCI USA (total return) index tracks around 600 leading stocks on the US market (end of day).
Index factsheet

MSCI USA Large Cap

United States 1 ETF 295
(31/10/16)
The MSCI USA Large Cap (total return) index tracks US large cap stocks.
Index factsheet

Russell 3000®

United States 1 ETF 3,000
The Russell 3000® index tracks large, mid-sized and small US companies.
Index factsheet

S&P 500®

United States 14 ETFs 500
The S&P 500® (total return) index tracks 500 large cap US stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B5BMR087 20,822 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B3XXRP09 18,579 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Dist)IE0031442068 8,189 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF AIE00B3YCGJ38 2,831 0.05% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274210672 2,676 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDIE00B5KQNG97 2,486 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers S&P 500 UCITS ETF 1CLU0490618542 2,220 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJ0KDR00 1,996 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
SPDR S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5C33 1,772 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF D-USDLU0496786657 938 0.15% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0136234654 641 0.20% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
UBS (Irl) ETF plc – MSCI USA UCITS ETFIE00BD4TXS21 604 0.14% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI USA UCITS ETFIE00B52SFT06 522 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDFR0010912576 442 0.15% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
iShares Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETFIE00B53L4350 367 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B77D4428 274 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
HSBC MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDIE00B5WFQ436 248 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Amundi ETF MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDFR0010871152 245 0.28% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF D-EURFR0007056841 229 0.50% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7K93397 224 0.12% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage MSCI USA TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495700 203 0.10% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B4JY5R22 188 0.22% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B3SC9K16 163 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
ComStage S&P 500 UCITS ETFLU0488316133 122 0.12% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI USA UCITS ETF D-USDFR0010372193 104 0.25% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
Source MSCI USA UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX170 94 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF BIE00BYML9W36 79 0.05% p.a. Distributing Ireland Unfunded swap
ComStage Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETFLU0378437502 77 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisIE00BD08DL65 43 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage MSCI USA Large Cap TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495882 33 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR Russell 3000 US Total Market UCITS ETFIE00BKY7WX37 23 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF EURFR0012822039 6 0.15% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisLU1107559889 5 0.20% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI USA Large Cap -0.80% 7.74% 7.55% 15.43% 46.75%
S&P 500® -0.81% 8.04% 7.74% 16.24% 47.70%
MSCI USA -0.62% 8.05% 7.83% 16.72% 47.07%
Russell 3000® -0.77% 8.61% 8.15% 17.49% -
Dow Jones Industrial Average -2.08% 10.39% 10.80% 19.55% 46.43%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
Dow Jones Industrial Average -2.08% 18.40% -0.02% 21.61% 25.22%
S&P 500® -0.81% 14.18% 1.48% 25.99% 28.15%
MSCI USA Large Cap -0.80% 12.94% 1.24% 27.27% 28.56%
Russell 3000® -0.77% 14.63% 0.67% - -
MSCI USA -0.62% 13.98% 1.42% 25.55% 28.02%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/01/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 
Alternative investment opportunities

USA indices on small and mid caps or dividend strategies

Alternatively, you may consider indices on small and mid caps, single sectors or dividend strategies. Below, we selected 11 alternative USA indices, which are tracked by 17 ETFs as an example. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on alternative USA indices is between 0.20% p.a. and 0.45% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
FTSE RAFI US 1000 United States
Fundamental/Quality
1 ETF 1,000
The FTSE RAFI US 1000 Index tracks 1.000 of the largest listed U.S. companies. The FTSE RAFI Index Series selects and weights index constituents using four fundamental factors, rather than market capitalisation. The factors are dividends, cash flows, sales and book value.
Index factsheet
MSCI USA Mid Cap United States
Mid Cap
1 ETF 322
(31/10/16)
The MSCI USA Mid Cap (total return) index tracks US mid cap stocks.
Index factsheet
MSCI USA Small Cap United States
Small Cap
2 ETFs 1,833
(31/10/16)
The MSCI USA Small Cap (total return) index tracks US small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
MSCI USA Value United States
Value
1 ETF 317
(31/10/16)
The MSCI USA Value index tracks the US value stocks. These are U.S equities which are determined as value stocks using eight historical and forward-looking fundamental data points.
Index factsheet
Nasdaq 100® United States
Technology
3 ETFs 100
The Nasdaq 100® (total return) index tracks a selection of 100 stocks chosen from among non-financial stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Russell 2000® United States
Small Cap
4 ETFs 2,000
The Russell 2000® index tracks US small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility United States
Low Volatility/Risk Weighted
1 ETF 100
The S&P 500 Minimum Volatility index tracks an optimized portfolio that includes a selection of stocks where volatility is among the lowest in the S&P 500®. The S&P 500® (total return) index tracks 500 large cap US stocks.
Index factsheet
S&P 500® Equal Weight United States
Equal Weighted
1 ETF 500
The S&P 500® Equal Weight (EWI) index tracks 500 large cap US stocks equally weighted with a fixed weight of 0.20%.
Index factsheet
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats United States
Dividend
1 ETF 105
(31/10/16)
The S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats index tracks appr. 100 highest dividend-yielding constituents of the stocks of the S&P Composite 1500® index that have increased dividends every year for at least 20 consecutive years.
Index factsheet
S&P MidCap 400 United States
Mid Cap
1 ETF 400
The S&P MidCap 400 index tracks 400 mid-sized US companies.
Index factsheet
S&P SmallCap 600 United States
Small Cap
1 ETF 600
The S&P SmallCap 600 index tracks 600 small cap US stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5D40 2,927 0.35% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
PowerShares EQQQ Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFIE0032077012 1,437 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFIE00B53SZB19 1,155 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFIE00B2QWCY14 1,124 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETFIE00B6SPMN59 1,087 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR S&P 400 US Mid Cap UCITS ETFIE00B4YBJ215 792 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI USA Small Cap UCITS ETFIE00B3VWM098 571 0.43% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA Value UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B78JSG98 526 0.20% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
SPDR Russell 2000 US Small Cap UCITS ETFIE00BJ38QD84 510 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers S&P 500 Equal Weight UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BLNMYC90 474 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers Russell 2000 UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJZ2DD79 474 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000 UCITS ETFIE00B23D8S39 358 0.39% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFLU0378449770 285 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF EURFR0011636190 135 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI USA Small Cap TRN UCITS ETFLU0392496005 85 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF USDFR0011636208 45 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI USA Mid Cap TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495965 39 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility -2.24% 4.77% 1.93% 13.06% 56.75%
Nasdaq 100® 2.44% 7.15% 10.59% 17.08% 63.10%
MSCI USA Value -2.22% 8.23% 8.94% 18.38% 44.12%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats -1.90% 7.64% 3.52% 19.14% 50.96%
S&P 500® Equal Weight -0.63% 8.85% 7.97% 20.02% -
FTSE RAFI US 1000 -1.72% 10.64% 10.69% 20.37% 45.29%
MSCI USA Mid Cap 0.09% 9.01% 7.78% 20.57% 41.43%
S&P MidCap 400 -1.04% 12.40% 10.69% 25.72% 45.10%
MSCI USA Small Cap -1.30% 13.37% 11.78% 27.15% 38.41%
Russell 2000® -2.25% 15.04% 14.13% 29.33% -
S&P SmallCap 600 -3.04% 16.10% 14.80% 29.89% 45.99%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
S&P SmallCap 600 -3.04% 28.56% -2.05% 16.93% 36.67%
Russell 2000® -2.25% 23.84% -3.31% - -
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility -2.24% 17.56% 4.88% 27.54% 23.88%
MSCI USA Value -2.22% 18.41% -2.16% 24.81% 27.56%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats -1.90% 22.11% -0.78% 25.81% 25.87%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 -1.72% 19.20% -2.89% 25.35% 31.12%
MSCI USA Small Cap -1.30% 21.94% -3.49% 18.51% 33.06%
S&P MidCap 400 -1.04% 22.81% -2.30% 21.47% 29.14%
S&P 500® Equal Weight -0.63% 16.87% -2.29% - -
MSCI USA Mid Cap 0.09% 14.20% -2.38% 26.03% 31.51%
Nasdaq 100® 2.44% 9.22% 9.70% 32.74% 32.56%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/01/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

North America indices with a large share of USA

Besides USA ETFs you may invest in ETFs on the North American stock market. In total, you can invest in 2 North America indices, which are tracked by 3 ETFs. The MSCI North America index strongly weights American stocks with 94.25% (as of 31/10/2016). The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on Nordamerika is between 0.10% p.a. and 0.40% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
FTSE North America North America
USA: 94.75%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF
The FTSE North America index tracks stocks in USA and Canada.
Index factsheet
MSCI North America North America
USA: 94.25%
(31/10/2016)
2 ETFs 710
(31/10/16)
The MSCI North America index tracks stocks from developed North American countries (Canada and United States).
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI North America UCITS ETFIE00B14X4M10 2,283 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage MSCI North America TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494992 135 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Vanguard FTSE North America UCITS ETFIE00BKX55R35 46 0.10% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI North America -0.58% 7.98% 7.72% 16.65% 42.50%
FTSE North America -0.55% 8.16% 7.98% 17.02% -
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI North America -0.58% 14.05% -0.53% 24.22% 25.83%
FTSE North America -0.55% 14.38% -0.34% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/01/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

Global indices with USA share of over 50%

As further alternative you may invest in global stock markets. In total, you can invest in 2 global indices, which are tracked by 3 ETFs. The World indices strongly weight the USA with 52% to 78%. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on global indices is between 0.15% p.a. and 0.60% p.a..

 
Index Investment focus Number of ETFs Number of constituents Short description
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) World
USA: 52.65%
(31/10/2016)
3 ETFs 2,470
(31/10/16)
The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) tracks stocks from developed and emerging countries worldwide. It covers 2,470 securities across large and mid cap size segments and consists of 46 country indices, of which 23 are developed and 23 are emerging markets (calculation based on end of day) (as of 30.01.2015).
Index factsheet
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) World
USA: 52.38%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 8,624
(31/10/16)
The MSCI All Country World Investable Market Index (ACWI IMI) tracks stocks from developed and emerging countries worldwide. It covers appr. 8.500 securities across large, mid and small cap size segments and consists of 46 country indices, of which approximately half are developed and half are emerging markets.
Index factsheet
MSCI World World
USA: 59.28%
(31/10/2016)
12 ETFs 1,654
(11/01/17)
The MSCI World index tracks stocks from 23 developed countries world wide. As of January 2017 the index consisted of 1.654 constituents.
Index factsheet
MSCI World ex Europe World
USA: 77.09%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 1,191
(31/10/16)
The MSCI World ex Europe index stocks from 8 developed countries world wide, excluding Europe.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETFIE00B4L5Y983 9,565 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI World UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M62Q58 6,072 0.50% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274208692 2,857 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJ0KDQ92 1,498 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0340285161 1,417 0.30% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
ComStage MSCI World TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494562 1,108 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B44Z5B48 677 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Source MSCI World UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX394 620 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B6R52259 423 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1DIE00BK1PV551 367 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI World UCITS ETF D-USDFR0010372201 221 0.30% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI AC World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BGHQ0G80 177 0.50% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI World UCITS ETF USDIE00B4X9L533 144 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR MSCI ACWI IMI UCITS ETFIE00B3YLTY66 44 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI World UCITS ETF USDFR0010871160 39 0.38% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7KQ7B66 27 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI World ex Europe UCITS ETF USDFR0010871186 5 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI World -0.33% 6.78% 6.96% 13.96% 31.07%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 0.02% 6.15% 6.95% 15.35% 30.25%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 0.05% 6.45% 7.54% 16.15% 32.45%
MSCI World ex Europe -0.20% 7.08% 7.44% 16.35% 39.64%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI World -0.33% 10.28% -0.27% 16.87% 23.25%
MSCI World ex Europe -0.20% 12.64% 0.36% 21.14% 23.81%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 0.02% 11.54% -2.00% 15.42% 18.91%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 0.05% 12.03% -1.10% 16.19% 20.36%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/01/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.