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 are tracked by ETFs
on the American stock market
The best indices for USA ETFs

Performance of American stocks (S&P 500®)

1 month: 5.69%
1 year: 15.16%
3 years: 51.56%
5 years: 92.67%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on USA

For an investment in the American stock market, 3 indices tracked by 36 ETFs are available. On the Dow Jones Industrial Average index there are 3 ETFs. On the MSCI USA index there are 16 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 16 ETFs 623
(31/03/19)
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 31,959 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B3XXRP09 22,937 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF USD (Dist)IE0031442068 8,844 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers S&P 500 UCITS ETF 1CLU0490618542 5,217 0.15% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B3YCGJ38 4,959 0.05% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CIE00BJ0KDR00 4,746 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
SPDR S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5C33 3,966 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF D-USDLU0496786657 3,545 0.15% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDIE00B5KQNG97 2,878 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Amundi S&P 500 UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681048804 2,740 0.15% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274210672 2,691 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDFR0011550177 2,188 0.15% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF - USDLU1681049018 1,469 0.15% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF EURFR0011550185 1,042 0.15% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS (Irl) ETF plc – MSCI USA UCITS ETFIE00BD4TXS21 1,015 0.14% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Amundi MSCI USA UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681042864 961 0.28% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI USA UCITS ETF D-EURFR0010296061 891 0.25% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0136234654 602 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
iShares Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53L4350 572 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI USA UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B52SFT06 554 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7K93397 367 0.12% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B77D4428 274 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF D-EURFR0007056841 267 0.50% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
Invesco S&P 500 UCITS ETF DistributingIE00BYML9W36 259 0.05% p.a. Distributing Ireland Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B3SC9K16 224 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
ComStage S&P 500 UCITS ETFLU0488316133 196 0.12% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI USA UCITS ETF - USDLU1681042948 191 0.28% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF HFR0011550680 178 0.15% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B4JY5R22 111 0.22% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
Lyxor MSCI USA UCITS ETF C-EURFR0011363423 101 0.25% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ComStage Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETFLU0378437502 81 0.45% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisIE00BD08DL65 80 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Invesco MSCI USA UCITS ETFIE00B60SX170 68 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI USA TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495700 67 0.10% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDIE00B5WFQ436 46 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisLU1107559889 1 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI USA 2.06% 16.55% -0.10% 13.50% 50.25%
S&P 500® 2.15% 14.80% -0.13% 13.57% 49.98%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.36% 12.87% 0.61% 13.82% 60.05%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
Dow Jones Industrial Average 12.87% -3.30% 21.88% 18.40% -0.02%
S&P 500® 14.80% -3.89% 16.27% 14.18% 1.48%
MSCI USA 16.55% -5.92% 17.15% 13.77% 1.44%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/19; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.

 

The best USA ETFs
by 1 year return

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The cheapest USA ETFs
by total expense ratio (TER)

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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 18 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 1,789
(28/09/18)
The MSCI USA Small Cap (total return) index tracks US small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
MSCI USA Value United States
Value
1 ETF 356
(31/08/18)
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
4 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 2,011
(31/08/18)
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 111
(31/08/18)
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 600
The S&P SmallCap 600 index tracks 600 US small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m CHF
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53SZB19 3,173 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5D40 2,905 0.35% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Invesco NASDAQ-100 UCITS ETFIE0032077012 2,164 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B6SPMN59 1,752 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR S&P 400 US Mid Cap UCITS ETFIE00B4YBJ215 886 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFIE00B2QWCY14 863 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers Russell 2000 UCITS ETF 1CIE00BJZ2DD79 602 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 539 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA Value UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B78JSG98 519 0.20% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI USA Small Cap UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B3VWM098 507 0.43% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFLU0378449770 465 0.25% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Invesco FTSE RAFI US 1000 UCITS ETFIE00B23D8S39 350 0.39% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFLU0392496005 83 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi Russell 2000 UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681038672 60 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF - USDLU1681038839 26 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
ComStage S&P MidCap 400 UCITS ETFLU0392495965 24 0.35% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Invesco EQQQ Nasdaq-100 UCITS ETF AccIE00BFZXGZ54 3 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
S&P SmallCap 600 -3.17% 12.66% -9.53% 5.04% 45.52%
Russell 2000® -1.89% 17.13% -7.16% 5.66% 46.63%
S&P MidCap 400 -0.38% 15.62% -3.82% 6.19% 40.26%
MSCI USA Small Cap -0.81% 17.08% -4.39% 8.53% 47.76%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 0.78% 13.27% -1.94% 9.02% 40.12%
MSCI USA Value 0.99% 12.56% 1.18% 10.87% 39.09%
S&P 500® Equal Weight 1.08% 17.44% 0.35% 10.88% 43.18%
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility 2.48% 14.89% 1.81% 14.23% 37.80%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats 0.99% 12.89% 4.49% 15.93% 41.64%
Nasdaq 100® 4.24% 18.05% -1.20% 17.43% 73.96%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
MSCI USA Value 12.56% -6.95% 9.83% 18.85% -2.06%
S&P SmallCap 600 12.66% -8.17% 7.89% 28.88% -2.06%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats 12.89% -2.35% 10.64% 22.30% -0.69%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 13.27% -8.22% 10.73% 19.43% -2.86%
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility 14.89% -4.56% 11.81% 16.04% 4.88%
S&P MidCap 400 15.62% -10.84% 10.73% 22.81% -2.30%
MSCI USA Small Cap 17.08% -9.71% 11.56% 21.94% -3.49%
Russell 2000® 17.13% -12.70% 10.35% 23.29% -
S&P 500® Equal Weight 17.44% -9.22% 14.11% 16.87% -2.29%
Nasdaq 100® 18.05% 0.42% 26.75% 9.24% 9.73%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/19; 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 675
(31/03/19)
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 715
(31/03/19)
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 2,162 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage MSCI North America TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494992 254 0.25% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Vanguard FTSE North America UCITS ETFIE00BKX55R35 254 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 1.88% 15.05% -0.27% 12.83% 47.66%
FTSE North America 1.97% 15.03% -0.04% 13.14% 49.08%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
FTSE North America 15.03% -4.69% 16.18% 14.56% -0.31%
MSCI North America 15.05% -5.03% 15.68% 14.19% -0.50%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/19; 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)
4 ETFs 2,771
(31/03/19)
The MSCI All Country World Index (ACWI) tracks stocks from developed and emerging countries worldwide. It covers 2,771 securities across large and mid cap size segments and consists of 47 country indices, of which 23 are developed and 24 are emerging markets.
Index factsheet
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) World
USA: 51.70%
(29/12/2017)
1 ETF 8,675
(31/03/19)
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 47 country indices, of which approximately half are developed and half are emerging markets.
Index factsheet
MSCI World World
USA: 59.21%
(29/12/2017)
13 ETFs 1,635
(31/03/19)
The MSCI World index tracks stocks from 23 developed countries world wide. As of January 2019 the index consisted of 1.632 constituents.
Index factsheet
MSCI World ex Europe World
USA: 77.55%
(29/12/2017)
2 ETFs 1,196
(31/03/19)
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 ETF USD (Acc)IE00B4L5Y983 17,307 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI World UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M62Q58 5,531 0.50% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1CIE00BJ0KDQ92 4,264 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI World Index Swap UCITS ETF 1CLU0274208692 2,931 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI World UCITS ETF D-EURFR0010315770 2,440 0.30% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI World TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494562 1,958 0.20% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B44Z5B48 1,613 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0340285161 1,143 0.30% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
Amundi MSCI World UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681043599 974 0.38% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI World UCITS ETF USDIE00B4X9L533 941 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B6R52259 849 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Invesco MSCI World UCITS ETFIE00B60SX394 842 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Xtrackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1DIE00BK1PV551 749 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Xtrackers MSCI AC World Index UCITS ETF 1CIE00BGHQ0G80 277 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi MSCI World ex Europe UCITS ETF - EUR (C)LU1681045537 247 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR MSCI ACWI IMI UCITS ETFIE00B3YLTY66 130 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7KQ7B66 104 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI ACWI SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00BYM11H29 12 0.22% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
Amundi ETF MSCI World UCITS ETF - USDLU1681043672 10 0.38% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI World UCITS ETF - USDLU1681045610 3 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 All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 1.20% 13.12% -1.62% 5.59% 39.59%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 1.50% 13.39% -0.41% 6.82% 40.57%
MSCI World 1.56% 13.75% -0.82% 8.42% 40.87%
MSCI World ex Europe 1.49% 13.92% -0.55% 10.14% 44.04%
Index   2019
in %
2018
in %
2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 13.12% -9.53% 18.02% 12.03% -1.10%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 13.39% -8.79% 18.60% 11.54% -2.00%
MSCI World 13.75% -7.84% 17.25% 10.28% -0.27%
MSCI World ex Europe 13.92% -6.16% 15.82% 12.33% 0.24%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/19; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.