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14 Best Large-Cap Equity ETFs: Morningstar

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Susan Dziubinski, director of content at Morningstar.com, started a recent blog post about exchange-traded funds by pointing out what investors like about them: They’re easy to buy and sell, are fairly transparent; they’re also generally low cost and usually tax efficient.

“Given these qualities, ETFs can make terrific portfolio building blocks because they allow you to get exposure to the parts of the market that you want — and to avoid the parts of the market you don’t want,” she writes.

Morningstar analysts in November gave the firm’s top rating (Gold) to some ETFs they think stand a good chance of outperforming over a full market cycle.

Fourteen large-cap ETFs on the list provide exposure to stocks of large companies, making them strong anchors for an equity portfolio. But there are strategic differences between them.

Some of these ETFs track the S&P 500, providing access to large-cap stocks representing about 80% of the U.S. stock market.

Others follow broader market indexes that include more stocks, some of which are smaller-cap names. While these funds also land in the large-blend Morningstar category, they expose investors to a wider pool of stocks and market capitalizations.

Still other ETFs on the list provide exposure to a subset of stocks, for instance, dividend-paying stocks and value stocks.

See the gallery for the 14 best large-cap equity ETFs.