SPDRs are a great way to gain exposure to a variety of markets and sectors while reaping the benefits of exchange-traded funds (ETFs). For those who are new to SPDRs, they are the nickname for Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts. If you find yourself in conversation about them, the acronym is pronounced "spider." SPDRs are a family of ETFs traded in the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Managed by State Street Global Advisors, SPDRs are like a mini-portfolio of stocks and derivatives that have the goal of emulating an investment vehicle, usually an index, commodity, or strategy. SPDRs track some of the most actively traded indexes and commodities on U.S. exchanges.
The SPY SPDR ETF
The ticker symbol "SPY" represents the SPDR ETF that tracks the S&P 500. If you have an interest in the stock market, or specifically in the S&P 500, buying SPY shares may be the best way to beef up your investment portfolio. Investing in this SPDR ETF is easier than investing directly in the S&P 500, because the latter would involve individually buying all 505 stocks traded on the S&P 500. That's not only logistically difficult—it's also expensive.
You would have to make hundreds of trades to fill your portfolio with the same stocks as the S&P 500, and you'd battle index pricing and any transaction costs or additional fees.
The ETF, on the other hand, is pre-packaged with fractional shares of every stock in the actual S&P 500. With one transaction, the SPY SPDR gives investors instant exposure to the entire index. Another advantage of ETF trading is the tax benefit. Like any investment, there are potential disadvantages to ETF investing that must be considered, but there is a reason SPDRs are some of the most popular investment vehicles.
A List of SPDRs
If you’re ready to include SPDRs in your portfolio, here's a comprehensive list to help you find the right ETF for your investing strategy. The holdings in these ETFs are usually updated quarterly, and the specific strategies may change over time, so be sure to research the most recent data before adding them to your portfolio. Each one is listed with its ticker symbol given first.
- BIL—Bloomberg Barclays 1-3 Month T-Bill ETF: This SPDR stock tracks short-term U.S. bonds, or "T-Bills."
- BWX—Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond ETF: BWX is another bond ETF, but instead of U.S. bonds, the BWX focuses on international bonds.
- BWZ—Bloomberg Barclays Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF: Like the BWX, the BWZ tracks international bonds, but with more of an emphasis on short-term investments.
- CWB—Bloomberg Barclays Convertible Securities ETF: This ETF provides exposure to convertible bonds, which are bonds that can be converted into stock in the company if the bond-holder so chooses.
- CWI—MSCI ACWI ex-US ETF: This ETF tracks stocks in essentially every market except the U.S. The holdings emphasize large-cap and mid-cap companies.
- DGT—Dow Jones Global Titans ETF: An elite committee—known as the Averages Committee—picks the top 150 stocks from around the world to include in the Global Dow Index, which this SPDR ETF tracks.
- DIA—SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust: The Dow, made up of 30 "blue-chip" stocks, is one of the most popular indexes in the U.S., and this ETF provides exposure to it.
- DWFI—SPDR Dorsey Wright Fixed Income Allocation ETF: This SPDR fund contains a mix of bonds, including municipal, high-yield, and Treasury bonds.
- DWX—S&P International Dividend ETF: No single country makes up more than 25% of the holdings in this dividend-focused ETF that looks beyond the U.S. for investment opportunities.
- EBND—SPDR Bloomberg Barclays Emerging Markets Local Bond ETF: Another bond ETF, this one focuses on international bonds in emerging markets with maturity timelines of one year or more.
- EDIV—SPDR S&P Emerging Markets Dividend ETF: This ETF is similar to the DWX, except all countries included are considered "emerging," as opposed to "developed."
- EMTL—SPDR DoubleLine Emerging Markets Fixed Income ETF: Similar to the EBND, the EMTL provides exposure to fixed-income opportunities in emerging markets, although this ETF emphasizes corporate holdings.
- EWX—S&P Emerging Markets Small Cap ETF: The EWX tracks stocks in emerging markets from companies with values falling somewhere between $100 million and $2 billion.
- FEZ—Dow Jones EURO STOXX 50 ETF: Investors can gain exposure to some of the largest companies in Europe through this SPDR stock.
- GAL—SPDR SSGA Global Allocation ETF: This balanced ETF is roughly 30% U.S. stocks, nearly 17% international stocks, and the remaining investments are split between bonds, REITs, and commodities in the U.S. and beyond.
- GII—Global Infrastructure ETF: The stocks in this ETF include some of the largest infrastructure-related companies around the world, including transportation companies, utilities, and more.
- GLD—Gold Shares ETF: Investors who want to include gold in their portfolio may choose to invest in GLD, which tracks gold prices.
- GMF—S&P Emerging Asia Pacific ETF: This ETF is for investors who want exposure to markets in countries like China, Taiwan, India, and Thailand.
- GNR—SPDR S&P Global Natural Resources ETF: Holdings in GNR emphasize agriculture, energy, metals, and mining.
- GWX—S&P International Small Cap ETF: Add small-cap stocks from countries like Japan, South Korea, Canada, and the U.K. with this SPDR stock.
- GXC—S&P China ETF: Chinese companies from all industries land in this ETF.
- HYMB—SPDR Nuveen Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Municipal Bond ETF: Bonds in this ETF come from states and local jurisdictions around the U.S. (including the District of Columbia and U.S. territories).
- IBND—Barclays Capital International Corporate Bond ETF: Bonds from non-U.S. companies like Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen, Panasonic, and Anheuser-Busch are found within this SPDR ETF.
- INKM—SPDR SSGA Income Allocation ETF: This ETF helps investors mix high-dividend stocks and REITs with their bonds.
- JNK—SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF: Bonds in this ETF are higher-risk than Treasury bonds, but that makes them higher-yield, as well.
- KBE—SPDR S&P Bank ETF: Track the financial sector with this SPDR stock.
- KCE—SPDR S&P Capital Markets ETF: This financial-sector ETF places heavier emphasis on areas including asset management, financial exchanges, and investment banking.
- KIE—SPDR S&P Insurance ETF: You'll find insurance giants like First American and Aflac included in this insurance-industry ETF.
- KRE—SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF: As opposed to national banks that serve the entire country, regional banks like Fifth Third specialize in specific communities. This ETF invests in those kinds of regional banks.
- LGLV—SPDR SSGA U.S. Large Cap Low Volatility ETF: Slow and steady gains is hopefully the name of the game with this large-cap ETF.
- LOWC—SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF: Investors who are concerned about climate change may consider this ETF, which invests in companies with lower carbon emissions targets than their competitors. It includes large- and midcap stocks in both developed and emerging economies.
- MDY—SPDR S&P Mid Cap 400 ETF: Selected companies with a market cap between $1 billion and $8 billion are included in this ETF.
- MDYG—SPDR S&P 400 Mid Cap Growth ETF: This variation on the midcap ETF emphasizes companies with strong investment growth potential.
- MDYV—SPDR S&P 400 Mid Cap Value ETF: This variation on the midcap ETF emphasizes companies with strong value investing characteristics.
- NANR—SPDR S&P North American Natural Resources ETF: This ETF is rebalanced quarterly to maintain a ratio of 45% energy stocks, 35% mining stocks, and 20% farming stocks.
- ONEO—SPDR Russell 1000 Momentum Focus ETF: Take advantage of stocks that are building momentum with this ETF, which uses multi-factor smart beta strategies to pick its holdings.
- ONEV—SPDR Russell 1000 Low Volatility Focus ETF: Low-volatility ETFs like ONEV aim to protect investors from any sudden crashes in their portfolio.
- ONEY—SPDR Russell 1000 Yield Focus ETF: You can think of yield as "income generation" in the case of ONEY. The ETF aims to keep a steady flow of cash coming in, regardless of stock performance.
- PSK—SPDR Wells Fargo Preferred Stock ETF: Preferred stocks come with a different set of advantages and disadvantages than common stocks, and this ETF adds preferred-stock exposure to your portfolio.
- QUS—SPDR MSCI USA StrategicFactors ETF: The strategy of this ETF blends different techniques like low-volatility, quality, and value characteristics.
- RLY—SPDR SSGA Multi-Asset Real Return ETF: RLY blends exposure to a wide range of investment sectors, in the U.S. and around the world, including natural resources, commodities, real estate, and bonds.
- RWO—Dow Jones Global Real Estate ETF: Invest in real estate around the world with RWO. Roughly 56% of this ETF's holdings are based in the U.S., while the remainder of the stocks and properties are held abroad.
- RWR—Dow Jones REIT ETF: Another real estate ETF, the RWR invests in U.S.-based REITs.
- RWX—Dow Jones International Real Estate ETF: As opposed to RWO, which invests in real estate in the U.S. and abroad, the RWX invests solely in real estate outside the U.S.
- SDY—S&P Dividend ETF: This ETF keeps an eye out for companies with strong track records of increasing dividend payouts over the years, adding income generation to an investor's portfolio.
- SJNK—SPDR Barclays Short Term High Yield Bond ETF: This ETF is similar to JNK, but with an emphasis on short-term bonds.
- SHM—Nuveen Bloomberg Barclays Short Term Municipal Bond ETF: This state-and-local bond ETF emphasizes short-term bonds.
- SLY—SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap ETF: U.S. companies with values between $450 million and $2.1 billion are included in this SPDR stock.
- SLYG—SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap Growth ETF: Like the SLY, the SLYG tracks small-cap U.S. stocks, but it emphasizes companies with the strongest investment growth potential.
- SLYV—SPDR S&P 600 Small Cap Value ETF: Like the SLY, the SLYV tracks small-cap U.S. stocks, but it emphasizes companies with the strongest value investing characteristics.
- SMLV—SPDR SSGA Small Cap Low Volatility ETF: This ETF is similar to the LGLV, but it focuses on small-cap companies.
- SPBO—SPDR Portfolio Corporate Bond ETF: Governments aren't the only entities that can issue debt in the form of bonds—companies can do it as well. This SPDR ETF provides exposure to corporate bonds.
- SPEM—SPDR Portfolio Emerging Markets: This ETF primarily provides exposure to Asia-Pacific markets, but it includes investments around the world, from Russia to South Africa to Brazil.
- SPIB—SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF: Corporate bonds in this low-cost ETF mature in at least one year, but in no more than 10 years.
- SPLG—SPDR Portfolio S&P 500 ETF: Invest in the biggest companies in the U.S. with this ETF.
- SPMB—SPDR Portfolio Mortgage Backed Bond ETF: Buy up mortgage bonds with this SPDR ETF.
- SPSB—SPDR Portfolio Short Term Corporate Bond ETF: Short-term debt from major companies makes up this SPDR asset.
- SPSM—SPDR Portfolio S&P 600 Small Cap ETF: Small companies from a wide array of industries can be found in SPDR's small-cap ETF.
- SPTL—SPDR Portfolio Long Term Treasury ETF: More than 90% of the U.S. Treasury bonds in this ETF mature in 20 years or more.
- SPYD—SPDR S&P 500 High Dividend ETF: This dividend-heavy ETF is similar to the SDY ETF, but the holdings are somewhat different, with more of an emphasis on real estate and consumer discretionary stocks.
- SPYB—SPDR S&P 500 Buy Back ETF: Stock buyback programs can benefit shareholders, and this ETF makes it easy for investors to concentrate their holdings in companies that have had high buyback ratios in the previous 12 months.
- SPYG—SPDR S&P 500 Large Cap Growth ETF: Big companies that still have room to grow will find themselves among the investments made by this ETF.
- SPYV—SPDR S&P 500 Large Cap Value ETF: Big companies that have strong value investing characteristics are among the investments made by this ETF.
- SPYX—SPDR S&P 500 Fossil Fuel Reserves Free ETF: Another investment tool for traders who are concerned about the environment, this ETF includes only S&P 500 companies without fossil fuel reserves.
- STOT—SPDR DoubleLine Short Duration Total Return Tactical ETF: While most of these ETFs are passively managed—meaning they track an index and stick to it—this ETF is actively managed, with the goal of beating the market in the short term.
- SHE—SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF: Another impact investing ETF, this one aims to invest in companies that show greater gender diversity among senior leadership than the competitors in their field.
- TFI—Nuveen Bloomberg Barclays Municipal Bond ETF: Municipal bonds from throughout the U.S. and with varying maturity timelines comprise this SPDR ETF.
- TIPX—SPDR Barclays 1-10 Year TIPS ETF: This ETF is filled with U.S. Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) that mature in more than one year, but in less than 10.
- WIP—SPDR FTSE International Government Inflation-Protected Bond ETF: This ETF is similar to TIPS ETFs, but the inflation-protected bonds are international, instead of coming from the U.S. Treasury.
- XAR—SPDR S&P Aerospace & Defense ETF: XAR focuses on an industry, so while 100% of the companies in this ETF are from the aerospace and defense industry, they range in size.
- XBI—SPDR S&P Biotech ETF: Invest in the biotechnology industry through SPDR's XBI ETF.
- XES—S&P Oil & Gas Equipment & Services ETF: Holdings in this ETF include companies from all parts of the oil and gas industry, including both names you'll recognize from gas stations and lesser-known companies that make the equipment the industry relies on.
- XHB—S&P Homebuilders ETF: From household appliance manufacturers to the people building homes one nail at a time, you'll find all things related to home building, renovation, and improvement in XHB.
- XHE—SPDR S&P Health Care Equipment ETF: Companies included in XHE come from the equipment sub-sector of the overall health care industry.
- XHS—SPDR S&P Health Care Services ETF: As opposed to XHE, XHS focuses on the service, facilities, and distribution of health care, not the equipment.
- XITK—SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF: This SPDR fund makes it easy to increase your exposure to the companies making the life-altering technology of our day, from streaming devices to social media services and beyond.
- XLB—Materials Select Sector SPDR Fund: S&P 500 companies involved in any part of the metals, mining, or forestry industries will be included in this ETF.
- XLE—Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund: This ETF is similar to oil and gas ETFs, but its exposure is broadened to include all consumable fuels.
- XLF—Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund: Financial ETFs like XLF provide concentrated exposure to all types of banks, REITs, and financial institutions.
- XLI—Industrial Select Sector SPDR: Industrial companies included in XLI come from various sectors of the economy, but more than half of them come from either aerospace and defense, machinery, or roads and railways.
- XLK—Technology Select SPDR Fund: This ETF includes all kinds of tech companies, including software and service giants, alongside cloud and semiconductor companies.
- XLP—Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund: No matter how the economy's doing, people are still going to buy groceries, hygiene products, and tobacco, and that's the thinking behind the Consumer Staples Select Index, which this index tracks.
- XLRE—Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund: As opposed to the homebuilders ETF, this Real Estate ETF focuses on investments in properties and property management.
- XLU—Utilities Select Sector SPDR Fund: The utility companies included in this ETF include electric companies, gas companies, and energy traders.
- XLV—Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund: Unlike more focused health care ETFs, this one includes companies from across the industry, including biotech, pharmaceutical, and service companies.
- XLY—Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund: While consumer staples ETFs track the things consumers need, consumer discretionary companies are considered luxuries, including restaurants, hotels, and cars.
- XME—SPDR S&P Metals and Mining ETF: Companies that deal with metals—like aluminum, gold, and steel—are included in this ETF, as are companies that deal with coal and consumable fuels.
- XOP—SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF: This oil and gas ETF is specifically focused on the companies responsible for finding and extracting the fuel.
- XPH—S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF: Another health care ETF, this one is focused on pharmaceutical companies.
- XRT—SPDR S&P Retail ETF: Consumer spending makes up roughly 70% of the U.S. economy, and a lot of that economic activity takes place in the retail space. From video games to clothes to medicine, the stores that sell you what you buy are in this ETF.
- XSD—SPDR S&P Semiconductor ETF: Semiconductor companies make the chips that power our favorite pieces of technology, and all sizes of semiconductor companies are to be found in XSD.
- XSW—SPDR S&P Software & Services ETF: XSW is another tech-sector ETF that separates itself by focusing on software developers and IT consultants.
- XTH—SPDR S&P Technology Hardware ETF: Apple, HP, and Fitbit are among the top five holdings of this hardware-focused ETF.
- XTL—SPDR S&P Telecom ETF: Add exposure to the companies that connect our communication services through this ETF.
- XTN—SPDR S&P Transportation ETF: Whether by air, sea, rail, or road—this ETF connects investors with the companies that make transportation happen.
- XWEB—SPDR S&P Internet ETF: Amazon and eBay are among the largest holdings in this collection of internet-based companies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are SPDR ETFs safer than investing in stocks?
SPDR ETFs are often easier to invest in than individual stocks, but there is still a risk involved. They tend to be a safer investment option than individual stocks and maintain a lower level of volatility while still offering a return on investment.
What are the tax benefits to buying SPDR ETFs?
When you sell an asset and make a profit, you may owe taxes on that profit, called a "capital gains tax." Understanding the tax benefits of buying ETFs involves knowing what that tax is. You only pay capital gains tax when you sell the ETF, not while you own it.