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The table below provides details about the types of ETFs in existence as of this writing.

ETF Type



Most common type.

Attempts to replicate the performance of a market index, for example, the S&P 500.

Daily leveraged or inverse ETFs.

Use replication, representative sampling, aggressive sampling.


Invests in commodities (precious metals, futures).

Not regulated as investment companies under ICA of 1940, but subject to CFTC regulation.

Public offering subject to SEC review, and no-action letter needed.

Most popular are gold and silver.

Fixed Income

Invest in U.S. government, corporate, or municipal bonds (for example, iShares Barclays 20+ year treasury bond fund).


Rydex Investments launched first fund in 2005 known as "Currency Shares."

"Actively Managed"

First launched in 2008 by Power Shares.

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