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 4 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: 4.03%
1 year: 20.14%
3 years: 49.00%
5 years: 101.33%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on USA

For an investment in the American stock market, 4 indices tracked by 35 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 Russell 3000® index there is 1 ETF. 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 14 ETFs 635
(30/06/17)
The MSCI USA (total return) index tracks around 600 leading stocks on the US market (end of day).
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 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 23,363 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B3XXRP09 19,195 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Dist)IE0031442068 7,734 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJ0KDR00 3,475 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF AIE00B3YCGJ38 2,798 0.05% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDIE00B5KQNG97 2,723 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274210672 2,552 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers S&P 500 UCITS ETF 1CLU0490618542 2,182 0.15% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5C33 2,086 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF D-USDLU0496786657 1,467 0.15% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Lyxor MSCI USA UCITS ETF D-EURFR0010296061 1,036 0.25% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDFR0011550177 868 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDFR0010912576 859 0.15% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS (Irl) ETF plc – MSCI USA UCITS ETFIE00BD4TXS21 797 0.14% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETF EURFR0011550185 772 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0136234654 583 0.14% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI USA UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B52SFT06 456 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53L4350 312 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Amundi ETF MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDFR0010871152 305 0.28% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B77D4428 274 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7K93397 223 0.12% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF D-EURFR0007056841 219 0.50% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B4JY5R22 190 0.22% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA SF UCITS ETF (USD) A-accIE00B3SC9K16 186 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Swap-based
BNP Paribas Easy S&P 500 UCITS ETFFR0011550680 161 0.20% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
ComStage S&P 500 UCITS ETFLU0488316133 149 0.12% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDIE00B5WFQ436 140 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage MSCI USA TRN UCITS ETFLU0392495700 132 0.10% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF BIE00BYML9W36 79 0.05% p.a. Distributing Ireland Unfunded swap
Source MSCI USA UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX170 80 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
ComStage Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETFLU0378437502 66 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-UKdisIE00BD08DL65 42 0.14% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF EURFR0012822039 6 0.15% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
SPDR Russell 3000 US Total Market UCITS ETFIE00BKY7WX37 4 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
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 %
Russell 3000® 4.25% 5.71% 4.33% 17.33% 34.90%
MSCI USA 3.92% 5.74% 4.47% 17.54% 35.67%
S&P 500® 3.90% 5.76% 4.48% 17.69% 36.17%
Dow Jones Industrial Average 3.69% 6.83% 6.22% 24.10% 40.54%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
Russell 3000® 8.00% 14.63% 0.67% - -
S&P 500® 8.52% 14.18% 1.48% 25.99% 28.15%
MSCI USA 8.70% 13.77% 1.44% - -
Dow Jones Industrial Average 9.43% 18.40% -0.02% 21.61% 25.22%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/09/17; 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 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 1,838
(30/06/17)
The MSCI USA Small Cap (total return) index tracks US small cap stocks.
Index factsheet
MSCI USA Value United States
Value
1 ETF 339
(30/06/17)
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.
Russell 2000® United States
Small Cap
4 ETFs 1,946
(31/03/17)
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 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
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
(31/03/17)
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 2,596 0.35% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
PowerShares EQQQ Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFIE0032077012 1,751 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53SZB19 1,343 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETFIE00B6SPMN59 1,040 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFIE00B2QWCY14 946 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR S&P 400 US Mid Cap UCITS ETFIE00B4YBJ215 777 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA Value UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B78JSG98 633 0.20% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI USA Small Cap UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B3VWM098 546 0.43% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers S&P 500 Equal Weight UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BLNMYC90 537 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
SPDR Russell 2000 US Small Cap UCITS ETFIE00BJ38QD84 521 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers Russell 2000 UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJZ2DD79 455 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000 UCITS ETFIE00B23D8S39 319 0.39% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
ComStage Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFLU0378449770 306 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF EURFR0011636190 212 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ComStage S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFLU0392496005 74 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
ComStage S&P MidCap 400 UCITS ETFLU0392495965 29 0.35% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF USDFR0011636208 28 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility 2.86% 3.49% 1.20% 8.05% 37.38%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats 4.72% 4.54% 1.76% 10.85% 40.27%
MSCI USA Value 4.72% 4.77% 2.18% 14.94% 29.03%
S&P 500® Equal Weight 4.75% 4.83% 3.05% 15.11% 32.69%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 4.90% 5.54% 2.38% 15.90% 29.75%
S&P MidCap 400 6.03% 4.45% 2.30% 16.37% 36.64%
MSCI USA Small Cap 7.30% 6.78% 4.94% 18.36% 37.68%
Russell 2000® 8.55% 6.93% 5.34% 19.75% 42.59%
S&P SmallCap 600 10.08% 7.19% 4.85% 19.89% 47.76%
Nasdaq 100® 2.05% 7.46% 7.41% 23.00% 52.86%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility 2.86% 16.04% 4.88% 27.54% 23.88%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats 3.28% 22.30% -0.69% 26.09% 26.01%
S&P SmallCap 600 3.32% 28.88% -2.06% 17.00% 36.77%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 3.51% 19.43% -2.86% 24.42% 30.92%
MSCI USA Value 3.58% 18.85% -2.06% 25.46% 27.84%
S&P MidCap 400 3.82% 22.81% -2.30% 21.47% 29.14%
Russell 2000® 5.22% 23.84% -3.31% - -
MSCI USA Small Cap 6.04% 21.94% -3.49% 18.51% 33.06%
S&P 500® Equal Weight 6.19% 16.87% -2.29% - -
Nasdaq 100® 17.71% 9.30% 9.76% 32.23% 32.53%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/09/17; 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 729
(30/06/17)
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 2,053 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
ComStage MSCI North America TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494992 119 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
Vanguard FTSE North America UCITS ETFIE00BKX55R35 98 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 4.01% 5.84% 4.35% 17.03% 32.14%
FTSE North America 4.04% 6.03% 4.59% 17.67% 33.38%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI North America 8.27% 14.19% -0.50% 24.41% 25.98%
FTSE North America 8.66% 14.56% -0.31% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/09/17; 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 2,501
(30/06/17)
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: 52.38%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 8,668
(30/06/17)
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: 59.28%
(31/10/2016)
12 ETFs 1,656
(30/06/17)
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 1,211
(30/06/17)
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 11,550 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI World UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M62Q58 5,232 0.50% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274208692 3,068 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJ0KDQ92 2,012 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI World UCITS ETF D-EURFR0010315770 1,708 0.30% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
ComStage MSCI World TRN UCITS ETFLU0392494562 1,352 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0340285161 1,195 0.30% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
SPDR MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B44Z5B48 957 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Source MSCI World UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX394 857 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1DIE00BK1PV551 542 0.19% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B6R52259 479 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
HSBC MSCI World UCITS ETF USDIE00B4X9L533 303 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI AC World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BGHQ0G80 203 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7KQ7B66 69 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR MSCI ACWI IMI UCITS ETFIE00B3YLTY66 58 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF MSCI World UCITS ETF USDFR0010871160 20 0.38% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI World ex Europe UCITS ETF USDFR0010871186 8 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 ex Europe 3.82% 5.60% 4.08% 16.03% 29.99%
MSCI World 4.19% 6.23% 5.91% 17.74% 26.93%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 4.08% 6.50% 6.31% 17.94% 28.56%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 3.88% 6.68% 6.27% 18.03% 26.67%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI World ex Europe 8.28% 12.64% 0.36% 21.14% 23.81%
MSCI World 10.52% 10.28% -0.27% 16.87% 23.25%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 11.38% 12.03% -1.10% 16.19% 20.36%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 11.52% 11.54% -2.00% 15.42% 18.91%

Source: justETF.com; As of 30/09/17; Calculations in CHF based on the largest ETF of the respective index.