Utilizing an ETF Screener

An ETF screener is a valuable tool that is designed to help you select the proper ETF for your investment needs. The ETF has grown in popularity greatly in recent years. With this growth in popularity, the number of available ETFs have also exploded. There are now upwards of 700 different ETFs traded in the United States. This makes it more difficult than opening a list of ETFs and just picking one to put your money in. With so many ETFs to choose from, you would have to do a lot of manual research to make sure that you are getting the best one for your investment objectives. Here are the basics of how an ETF screener works and how it can help you as an investor.

Where to Find

There are many ETF screeners out there that you could choose to utilize. Most financial institutions that promote ETFs will have one available for you to use. If you want to do your own search, you can find some great ones online doing a simple search on the term "ETF screener". For example, Morningstar has a great one that you can use freely. All of them are a little bit different, so play around with a few to make sure that you find one that you feel comfortable with. 

How to Use One

While none of them are exactly alike, they will all be very similar. There will be a number of different fields that you can look at and select. For example, when you are looking at an ETF screener form, you may see a list of drop-down boxes to choose from. The drop-down boxes will be grouped into categories of financial information. You will be able to look at the different aspects that are important to an ETF and select the options that you want. 

Options

There are several factors that go into choosing the appropriate ETF for your needs. Therefore, most ETF screeners come with several criteria for you to select from. For example, you might see a column that reads "Fund Group" followed by a drop down box. You can click on the box and select between "diversified domestic, specialty domestic, international, bond, balanced, or alternative." This will allow you to choose the category of ETF that you are looking for. 

After you choose the category that you want to look through, you will be able to give more specific information such as the expense ratio, YTD return, 1-year return, 3-year return, and 5-year return. 

Considering Option

Once you are done entering the criteria that you are looking for, you will click on the search button at the end of the form. The screener will then look through all of the different ETFs that are available and match them to the criteria that you set forth. This will provide you with a list of ETFs that meet your criteria and help you sort through all of the ones that don't. This will make your search for the perfect ETF much simpler for you. 

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