Top 5 Free ETF Tools On

by on October 14, 2011 | Updated July 9, 2014

ETF Database maintains a suite of analytical resources designed to help financial advisors and investors navigate through the rapidly-expanding ETF universe and perform meaningful analysis of products that meet a specified investment criteria. For those who haven’t yet become familiar with the lineup of free analytical ETF resources, below we provide an overview of the five most useful sections of the site:

1. ETF Screener

The free ETF screener allows investors to slice and dice the universe of more than 1,600 ETFs and ETNs by dozens of different criteria, including both quantitative metrics such as historical returns or expense ratios and descriptive data fields such as sector or region. The ETF screener allows investors to quickly identify and compare all the ETPs that may match desired exposure, whether that involves finding all the physically-backed silver ETFs (there are two), ETFs offering exposure to Australian stocks (eight of those), or the complete roster of emerging markets bond funds (17…and counting).

There are more than 20 fields available in the ETF screener, including:

  • Sector
  • Region
  • Bond Type
  • Commodity Family
  • Structure
  • Expense Ratio
  • Historical Performance

ETFdb Pro members have the option to export screener results to Excel, as well as access to 25+ all-ETF model portfolios and actionable investment ideas from the ETF Insider column.

2. ETF Country Exposure Tool

This feature looks like a map of the world, and allows investors to quickly identify equity ETFs with meaningful exposure to nearly 100 different economies around the globe. Simply click on a country to see all active equity ETFs that include significant exposure to that market (there’s a dropdown list for the geographically challenged).

The results page includes both “pure play” ETFs that allocate virtually all of their exposure to the selected economy, as well as funds that make smaller allocations. For example, the China results page shows everything from the FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI) down to funds that have less than 5% of holdings in Chinese stocks.

If you’re looking for ETFs with exposure to just about any major global economy, this tool can be a useful resource. From Albania to Zambia, it has the world pretty well covered.

3. Head-To-Head ETF Comparison Tool

For investors looking to see how two exchange-traded products stack up side-by-side, this feature allows comparison of two exchange-traded products on the basis of structure, performance, fees, and holdings. Compare anything from popular Commodity ETFs to International Real Estate ETFs side-by-side. Again, this tool is easy to use: simply enter two ticker symbols, and then view the results across five different tabs:

  • Overview: Shows information such as average daily volume, expense ratio, and structure
  • Holdings: Gives a snapshot of asset class allocations, along with breakdowns by sector, region, credit quality, and yield.
  • Performance: Provides side-by-side returns over nine different time periods, as well as volatility and dividend information.
  • Technicals: Gives important technical metrics, including relative strength and support and resistance levels.
  • Database: Available to ETFdb Pro members, this tab shows all applicable proprietary descriptive data fields for each ETF.

The head-to-head ETF comparison tool can be used on any two ETFs that are currently trading.

4. ETFdb Categories

This section of the site isn’t so much a tool, but rather a flexible categorization system that allows for quick and easy comparison of exchange-traded products with similar investment objectives and risk characteristics. ETFdb Categories are our “best fit” classification buckets; each U.S.-listed exchange-traded product is allocated into one and only one ETFdb Category. There are about 65 ETFdb Categories across all major asset classes, including Emerging Markets Equities, High Yield Bonds, and Agricultural Commodities.

The home page for each ETFdb Category gives an overview of all products in that group, including volume, assets, and YTD performance. But that’s just the beginning; the “tabbed” Analytics feature allows investors to compare similar products across a number of different fields:

  • Returns: This tab shows performance over six time periods ranging from one week to five years. Each column is sortable, making it easy to identify the best and worst funds over any time horizon.
  • Expenses: In addition to expense ratios, this tab shows where each ETF can be traded commission free.
  • Dividends: For yield-hungry investors, this tab displays important dividend information.
  • Holdings: This tab shows the number of holdings in each ETF as well as the percent of assets in the top ten, allowing investors to analyze the depth and balance of a product.
  • Technicals: Gives important technical indicators, such as volatility and moving averages.

This flexible analytical framework is available free for all ETFdb Categories, allows for easy comparison of potential ETF investments in a number of different ways.

5. Mutual Fund-to-ETF Converter Tool

This tool is exactly what it sounds like: a resource designed to make it easy for investors to identify ETF alternatives to existing mutual fund positions. The functionality is pretty simple; enter in a mutual fund ticker, and the tool spits out a list of ETF alternatives.

The results include two different lists: one including “exact match” ETFs that seek to passively replicate the mutual fund’s benchmark and another of ETFs linked to indexes in the same ETFdb Category. So a mutual fund benchmarked to the Russell 2000 would have two exact matches, IWM and VTWO, along with dozens of other options in the Small Cap Blend ETFdb Category.

With 20,000+ mutual funds included, this tool can be a handy resource for those looking to make the switch from mutual funds to ETFs.

[For more news on ETFdb tools, sign up for our free ETF newsletter.]

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.