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 12 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: 0.48%
1 year: 32.18%
3 years: 77.20%
5 years: 134.82%

Indices in comparison

The best indices for ETFs on USA

For an investment in the American stock market, 4 indices tracked by 22 ETFs are available. On the Dow Jones Industrial Average index there are 2 ETFs. On the MSCI USA index there are 9 ETFs. On the Russell 3000® index there is 1 ETF. On the S&P 500® index there are 10 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 2 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 9 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

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 10 ETFs 500
The S&P 500® (total return) index tracks 500 large cap US stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Core S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B5BMR087 16,402 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B3XXRP09 14,123 0.07% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P 500 UCITS ETF (Dist)IE0031442068 5,994 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Source S&P 500 UCITS ETF AIE00B3YCGJ38 2,230 0.05% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJ0KDR00 2,117 0.07% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers MSCI USA Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274210672 2,008 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
HSBC S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDIE00B5KQNG97 1,970 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers S&P 500 UCITS ETF 1CLU0490618542 1,608 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
SPDR S&P 500 UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5C33 1,341 0.09% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor S&P 500 UCITS ETF D-USDLU0496786657 884 0.15% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0136234654 471 0.17% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
iShares MSCI USA UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B52SFT06 378 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Amundi ETF S&P 500 UCITS ETF USDFR0010912576 348 0.15% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDFR0010871152 245 0.28% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
iShares Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53L4350 244 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B77D4428 217 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Dow Jones Industrial Average UCITS ETF D-EURFR0007056841 173 0.50% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
UBS ETF (IE) S&P 500 UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B7K93397 171 0.12% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
HSBC MSCI USA UCITS ETF USDIE00B5WFQ436 141 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor MSCI USA UCITS ETF D-USDFR0010372193 77 0.25% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
Source MSCI USA UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX170 72 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
SPDR Russell 3000 US Total Market UCITS ETFIE00BKY7WX37 6 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
S&P 500® -0.50% 4.40% 14.03% 34.39% 77.08%
MSCI USA -0.48% 4.57% 13.89% 34.67% -
Russell 3000® -0.56% 4.10% 13.93% 35.03% -
Dow Jones Industrial Average -1.23% 3.45% 18.15% 37.03% 76.49%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
Dow Jones Industrial Average 3.45% 39.34% 4.56% 15.99% 25.79%
Russell 3000® 4.10% 34.90% 5.29% - -
S&P 500® 4.40% 34.38% 6.11% 20.17% 28.75%
MSCI USA 4.57% 33.93% 6.07% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/17; Calculations in GBP 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 12 alternative USA indices, which are tracked by 21 ETFs as an example. The total expense ratio (TER) of ETFs on alternative USA indices is between 0.19% 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 Small Cap United States
Small Cap
1 ETF 1,822
(31/03/17)
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
4 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 1000® Growth United States
Growth
1 ETF 567
(30/09/12)
The Russell 1000® Growth index tracks the large-cap growth segment of US equities.
Index factsheet
Russell 1000® Value United States
Value
1 ETF 690
(30/09/12)
The Russell 1000® Value index tracks the large-cap value segment of US equities.
Index factsheet
Russell 2000® United States
Small Cap
6 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
2 ETFs 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 601
(31/03/17)
The S&P SmallCap 600 index tracks 600 small cap US stocks.
Index factsheet
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
SPDR S&P US Dividend Aristocrats UCITS ETFIE00B6YX5D40 2,259 0.35% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
PowerShares EQQQ Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETFIE0032077012 1,134 0.30% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
iShares S&P SmallCap 600 UCITS ETFIE00B2QWCY14 945 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B53SZB19 896 0.33% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETFIE00B6SPMN59 850 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR S&P 400 US Mid Cap UCITS ETFIE00B4YBJ215 596 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
iShares MSCI USA Small Cap UCITS ETF (Acc)IE00B3VWM098 470 0.43% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (IE) MSCI USA Value UCITS ETF (USD) A-disIE00B78JSG98 446 0.20% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
db x-trackers S&P 500 Equal Weight UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BLNMYC90 396 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
SPDR Russell 2000 US Small Cap UCITS ETFIE00BJ38QD84 395 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers Russell 2000 UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJZ2DD79 376 0.30% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Full replication
Source Russell 2000 UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX402 311 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000 UCITS ETFIE00B23D8S39 265 0.39% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor Russell 1000 Growth UCITS ETF C-USDFR0011119171 103 0.19% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
iShares Edge S&P 500 Minimum Volatility UCITS ETF EUR Hedged (Acc)IE00BYX8XD24 45 0.25% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Amundi ETF Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETF USDFR0010912568 42 0.23% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
ETFS Russell 2000 US Small Cap GO UCITS ETFIE00B3CNHJ55 34 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF Russell 2000 UCITS ETF USDFR0011636208 30 0.35% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor Russell 1000 Value UCITS ETF C-USDFR0011119205 20 0.19% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor Russell 2000 UCITS ETF C-USDFR0011119254 17 0.19% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor Nasdaq 100 UCITS ETF D-USDFR0010446930 12 0.30% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility -0.99% 2.33% 9.67% 28.30% 85.82%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats -0.63% 2.21% 10.46% 30.45% 78.92%
Russell 1000® Growth 0.55% 7.30% 14.08% 33.09% -
S&P 500® Equal Weight -0.62% 3.71% 13.19% 34.39% -
MSCI USA Value -1.33% 1.76% 13.70% 35.20% 67.03%
FTSE RAFI US 1000 -1.49% 1.67% 14.63% 35.94% 67.20%
Russell 1000® Value -1.63% 1.66% 14.07% 36.69% -
S&P MidCap 400 -1.01% 2.30% 15.45% 38.39% 71.18%
Nasdaq 100® 1.41% 10.31% 16.07% 40.51% 104.40%
MSCI USA Small Cap -0.69% 2.00% 14.64% 40.70% 64.52%
S&P SmallCap 600 -0.73% -0.54% 16.23% 42.63% 70.46%
Russell 2000® -0.57% 0.85% 15.56% 44.53% -
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
S&P SmallCap 600 -0.54% 51.23% 2.40% 11.55% 37.31%
Russell 2000® 0.85% 45.72% 1.10% - -
Russell 1000® Value 1.66% 40.74% 0.52% - -
FTSE RAFI US 1000 1.67% 40.16% 1.55% 19.71% 31.62%
MSCI USA Value 1.76% 39.12% 2.33% 19.11% 28.23%
MSCI USA Small Cap 2.00% 43.53% 0.92% 13.05% 33.66%
S&P High Yield Dividend Aristocrats 2.21% 43.59% 3.74% 20.03% 26.50%
S&P MidCap 400 2.30% 44.53% 2.13% 15.90% 29.75%
S&P 500 Minimum Volatility 2.33% 38.42% 9.66% 21.65% 24.50%
S&P 500® Equal Weight 3.71% 37.55% 2.17% - -
Russell 1000® Growth 7.30% 28.77% 10.76% - -
Nasdaq 100® 10.31% 28.52% 14.71% 26.66% 33.21%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/17; Calculations in GBP 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 GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares MSCI North America UCITS ETFIE00B14X4M10 1,647 0.40% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
Vanguard FTSE North America UCITS ETFIE00BKX55R35 41 0.10% p.a. Distributing Ireland Full replication
Lyxor MSCI North America UCITS ETF C-USDFR0012647428 1 0.20% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI North America -0.48% 4.30% 13.47% 33.91% 69.52%
FTSE North America -0.45% 4.42% 13.85% 34.32% -
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
MSCI North America 4.30% 34.09% 4.01% 18.58% 26.38%
FTSE North America 4.42% 34.52% 4.17% - -

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/17; Calculations in GBP 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
Dow Jones Global Titans 50 World
USA: 77.24%
(31/10/2016)
1 ETF 50
The Dow Jones Global Titans 50 (total return) index tracks 50 multinational companies traded on major exchanges worldwide.
Index factsheet
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) World
USA: 52.65%
(31/10/2016)
4 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)
9 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
ETF
ISIN
  Fund size
in m GBP
TER
in %
Use of profits Fund domicile Replication method
iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETFIE00B4L5Y983 7,547 0.20% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
iShares MSCI World UCITS ETF (Dist)IE00B0M62Q58 4,320 0.50% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF 1CLU0274208692 2,275 0.45% p.a. Accumulating Luxembourg Unfunded swap
db x-trackers MSCI World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BJ0KDQ92 1,361 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World UCITS ETF (USD) A-disLU0340285161 1,204 0.30% p.a. Distributing Luxembourg Full replication
SPDR MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B44Z5B48 697 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Source MSCI World UCITS ETF AIE00B60SX394 669 0.19% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Unfunded swap
iShares MSCI ACWI UCITS ETFIE00B6R52259 342 0.60% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI World UCITS ETF D-USDFR0010372201 195 0.30% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
HSBC MSCI World UCITS ETF USDIE00B4X9L533 179 0.15% p.a. Distributing Ireland Optimized sampling
db x-trackers MSCI AC World Index UCITS ETF (DR) 1CIE00BGHQ0G80 140 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
SPDR MSCI ACWI IMI UCITS ETFIE00B3YLTY66 35 0.40% p.a. Accumulating Ireland Optimized sampling
Lyxor MSCI All Country World UCITS ETF C-USDFR0011093418 26 0.45% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Amundi ETF MSCI World UCITS ETF USDFR0010871160 26 0.38% p.a. Accumulating France Unfunded swap
Lyxor DJ Global Titans 50 UCITS ETF USDFR0011523505 1 0.40% p.a. Distributing France Unfunded swap
 
Index   1 month
in %
3 months
in %
6 months
in %
1 year
in %
3 years
in %
MSCI World 0.48% 4.76% 12.40% 32.19% 57.21%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 0.56% 5.28% 12.21% 32.83% 56.60%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 0.47% 5.20% 12.19% 33.86% 59.10%
Dow Jones Global Titans 50 0.36% 4.69% 12.95% 34.08% 58.32%
Index   2017
in %
2016
in %
2015
in %
2014
in %
2013
in %
Dow Jones Global Titans 50 4.69% 32.45% 4.88% 10.72% -
MSCI World 4.76% 29.83% 4.26% 11.52% 23.78%
MSCI All Country World Investable Market (ACWI IMI) 5.20% 31.86% 3.43% 10.82% 20.91%
MSCI All Country World (ACWI) 5.28% 31.29% 2.47% 10.09% 19.47%

Source: justETF.com; As of 31/03/17; Calculations in GBP based on the largest ETF of the respective index.