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 3 indices, which are tracked by ETFs. Besides these indices 10 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: 1.84%
1 year: 10.47%
3 years: 32.49%
5 years: 89.84%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on USA

For an investment in the American stock market, 3 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 13 ETFs. On the S&P 500® index there are 17 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 13 ETFs 633
(29/12/17)
The MSCI USA (total return) index tracks around 600 leading stocks on the US market (end of day).
Index factsheet

S&P 500®

United States 17 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 ETF (Acc)IE00B5BMR087 25,426 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B3XXRP09 22,577 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Dist)IE0031442068 7,821 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CIE00BJ0KDR00 3,884 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Xtrackers S&P 500 UCITS ETF 1CLU0490618542 3,313 0.15% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDIE00B5KQNG97 3,090 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
SPDR S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5C33 2,779 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF AIE00B3YCGJ38 2,706 0.05% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274210672 2,540 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF D-USDLU0496786657 2,227 0.15% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDFR0011550177 1,346 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI USA UCITS ETF D-EURFR0010296061 1,025 0.25% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF - USDLU1681049018 960 0.15% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS (Irl) ETF plc – MSCI USA UCITS ETFIE00BD4TXS21 888 0.14% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF EURFR0011550185 819 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0136234654 546 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI USA UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B52SFT06 536 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
ComStage S&P 500 UCITS ETFLU0488316133 516 0.12% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
iShares Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53L4350 387 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF D-EURFR0007056841 244 0.50% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B77D4428 236 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7K93397 232 0.12% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B3SC9K16 206 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF HFR0011550680 174 0.20% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B4JY5R22 148 0.22% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
ComStage MSCI USA TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495700 139 0.10% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF BIE00BYML9W36 79 0.05% p.a. Distributing Ireland Unfunded swap
UBS (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisIE00BD08DL65 83 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
HSBC MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDIE00B5WFQ436 79 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETFLU0378437502 78 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Source MSCI USA UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX170 72 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF - EUR (D)LU1681048986 4 0.15% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisLU1107559889 2 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
S&P 500® -1.24% -2.85% 4.09% 8.55% 32.16%
MSCI USA -1.13% -3.38% 4.13% 8.59% 31.34%
Dow Jones Industrial Average -2.32% -4.10% 6.81% 13.35% 40.69%
Index   2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
Dow Jones Industrial Average -4.10% 21.88% 18.40% -0.02% 21.61%
MSCI USA -3.38% 17.15% 13.77% 1.44% -
S&P 500® -2.85% 16.27% 14.18% 1.48% 25.99%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/18; 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 10 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 0.43% 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 Small Cap United States
Small Cap
1 ETF 1,799
(29/12/17)
The MSCI USA Small Cap (total return) index tracks US small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
MSCI USA Value United States
Value
1 ETF 341
(29/12/17)
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® index tracks a selection of 100 stocks chosen from among non-financial stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
Index factsheet
Russell 2000® United States
Small Cap
4 ETFs 1,983
(31/12/17)
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 107
(29/12/17)
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
2 ETFs 400
The S&P MidCap 400 index tracks 400 mid-sized US companies.
Index factsheet
S&P SmallCap 600 United States
Small Cap
2 ETFs 601
(29/12/17)
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 2,148 0.35% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
PowerShares EQQQ Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFIE0032077012 2,037 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53SZB19 1,665 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B6SPMN59 1,119 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR S&P 400 US Mid Cap UCITS ETFIE00B4YBJ215 903 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFIE00B2QWCY14 881 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers Russell 2000 UCITS ETF 1CIE00BJZ2DD79 625 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Xtrackers S&P 500 Equal Weight UCITS ETF 1CIE00BLNMYC90 567 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
SPDR Russell 2000 US Small Cap UCITS ETFIE00BJ38QD84 551 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI USA Small Cap UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B3VWM098 539 0.43% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA Value UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B78JSG98 516 0.20% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFLU0378449770 363 0.25% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000 UCITS ETFIE00B23D8S39 310 0.39% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF - EURLU1681038672 86 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
ComStage S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFLU0392496005 75 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
ComStage S&P MidCap 400 UCITS ETFLU0392495965 24 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF - USDLU1681038839 19 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI USA Value -0.77% -5.53% 0.17% 2.27% 24.89%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats 1.44% -4.91% 1.86% 3.28% 30.54%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 -0.64% -4.65% 2.00% 4.24% 24.63%
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility -0.29% -4.01% 4.34% 5.22% 30.86%
S&P MidCap 400 2.24% -2.92% 3.54% 5.42% 24.93%
S&P 500® Equal Weight 0.36% -3.86% 3.31% 6.12% 25.48%
Russell 2000® 2.65% -3.22% 1.47% 6.28% 22.76%
MSCI USA Small Cap 2.42% -2.60% 2.47% 6.88% 24.40%
S&P SmallCap 600 3.40% -1.51% 2.84% 7.18% 31.55%
Nasdaq 100® -2.65% 0.97% 8.76% 16.43% 52.61%
Index   2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
MSCI USA Value -5.53% 9.83% 18.85% -2.06% 25.46%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats -4.91% 10.64% 22.30% -0.69% 26.09%
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility -4.69% 11.81% 16.04% 4.88% 27.54%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 -4.65% 10.73% 19.43% -2.86% 24.42%
S&P 500® Equal Weight -3.86% 14.11% 16.87% -2.29% -
Russell 2000® -3.22% 10.35% 23.29% - -
S&P MidCap 400 -2.92% 10.73% 22.81% -2.30% 21.47%
MSCI USA Small Cap -2.60% 11.56% 21.94% -3.49% 18.51%
S&P SmallCap 600 -1.51% 7.89% 28.88% -2.06% 17.00%
Nasdaq 100® 0.97% 26.79% 9.30% 9.76% 32.23%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/18; 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 94,34% (as of 29/12/2017). 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: 94,64%
(29/12/2017)
1 ETF 677
(29/12/17)
The FTSE North America index tracks stocks in USA and Canada.
Index factsheet
MSCI North America North America
USA: 94,34%
(29/12/2017)
2 ETFs 725
(29/12/17)
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 2,021 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage MSCI North America TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494992 143 0.25% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Vanguard FTSE North America UCITS ETFIE00BKX55R35 142 0.10% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI North America -1.07% -3.16% 3.46% 7.77% 28.65%
FTSE North America -1.13% -3.10% 3.60% 8.18% 30.01%
Index   2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
MSCI North America -3.16% 15.68% 14.19% -0.50% 24.41%
FTSE North America -3.10% 16.18% 14.56% -0.31% -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/18; 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: 52.02%
(29/12/2017)
3 ETFs 2,499
(29/12/17)
The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) tracks stocks from developed and emerging countries worldwide. It covers 2,477 securities across large and mid cap size segments and consists of 46 country indices, of which 23 are developed and 23 are emerging markets.
Index factsheet
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) World
USA: 51.70%
(29/12/2017)
1 ETF 8,653
(29/12/17)
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: 59.21%
(29/12/2017)
11 ETFs 1,653
(29/12/17)
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
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF USD (Acc)IE00B4L5Y983 13,164 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI World UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M62Q58 5,043 0.50% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1CIE00BJ0KDQ92 2,922 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI World Index Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0274208692 2,494 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI World UCITS ETF D-EURFR0010315770 1,815 0.30% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI World TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494562 1,549 0.20% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0340285161 1,193 0.30% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
SPDR MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B44Z5B48 1,179 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Source MSCI World UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX394 710 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1DIE00BK1PV551 682 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B6R52259 632 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI World UCITS ETF USDIE00B4X9L533 570 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI AC World Index UCITS ETF 1CIE00BGHQ0G80 222 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7KQ7B66 78 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR MSCI ACWI IMI UCITS ETFIE00B3YLTY66 71 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI World -0.91% -3.31% 2.57% 8.57% 24.11%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) -0.80% -3.08% 2.70% 9.08% 25.48%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) -0.97% -3.18% 2.97% 9.44% 25.44%
Index   2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
MSCI World -3.31% 17.25% 10.28% -0.27% 16.87%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) -3.18% 18.60% 11.54% -2.00% 15.42%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) -3.08% 18.02% 12.03% -1.10% 16.19%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/18; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.