My 3 Favorite ETFs to Buy Right Now
I love exchange-traded funds (ETFs). While I own quite a few individual stocks, the biggest chunk of my portfolio is invested in ETFs. Whenever anyone asks me about getting started with investing, ETFs always come up during the conversation.
There are more than more than 8,750 ETFs across the world right now, according to Statista. That’s way too many to evaluate for anyone. Fortunately, some especially stand out as great picks, in my view. Here are my three favorite ETFs to buy right now.
1. Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund ETF
What’s the best asset to own over the long run? The answer is small-cap value stocks, according to an analysis conducted by Wellington Management. Small-cap stocks have beaten large-cap stocks 69% of the time since 1936. And value stocks have outperformed growth stocks more than 90% of the time.
That historical track record is the top reason why I like the Vanguard Small-Cap Value Index Fund ETF (VBR -0.34%). As its name indicates, this ETF owns small-cap value stocks — 835 of them, to be exact.
VBR provides an easy way to buy a basket of the kinds of stocks that have performed exceptionally well over the long term. It’s also cheap, with an expense ratio of only 0.07%.
I’m especially enthusiastic about this ETF right now. My view echoes that of BMO Chief Investment Officer Yung-Yu Ma, who recently told CNBC, “2024 will be the year of small caps and value.”
2. Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund ETF
If I can’t have both small-cap and value stocks in one ETF, the next best thing is to go with just small-cap stocks. Actually, that would provide relatively low valuations all by itself. American Century Investments calculated that small-cap stocks as a group are currently nearly 20% below their average forward earnings multiple.
Enter the Vanguard Small-Cap Index Fund ETF (VB -0.29%). The ETF holds positions in 1,422 small-cap U.S. stocks. On average, these stocks trade at 14.6 times their trailing-12-month earnings.
VB is even less expensive to buy than VBR. Its annual expense ratio is 0.05%. That’s well below the 1% average expense ratio of similar funds.
There’s one key reason why I think this ETF could outperform in 2024. Small-cap stocks often take off even more than large-cap stocks when interest rates fall. That’s because smaller businesses tend to be more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations. With the Federal Reserve signaling rate cuts later this year, I look for VB to be a solid winner.
3. Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF
Because of the current economic dynamics, I’m partial toward small-cap stocks. That’s why VBR and VB rank as my top two favorite ETFs. However, I also agree 100% with Warren Buffett about the wisdom of investing in S&P 500 funds.
Buffett wrote to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in 2014 that he stipulated in his will that 90% of the cash inherited by his family be invested in “a very low-cost S&P 500 index fund.” He added, “I suggest Vanguard’s.” The legendary investor’s recommendation alone is a great reason to check out the Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (VOO 0.05%).
VOO certainly meets Buffett’s preference of “very low-cost.” Its expense ratio is a super-low 0.03%. You won’t find a cheaper S&P 500 index ETF.
I doubt that the S&P 500 will deliver returns anywhere close to the big 24% gain we saw last year in 2024. However, over the long run, the index — and ETFs such as VOO that attempt to track it — can make investors a lot of money.
Keith Speights has positions in Berkshire Hathaway, Vanguard Index Funds-Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF, and Vanguard S&P 500 ETF. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Berkshire Hathaway, Vanguard Index Funds-Vanguard Small-Cap ETF, and Vanguard S&P 500 ETF. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.