How to Buy and Sell ETFs

6 mins read

An Overview

Exchange trading funds (ETFs) are typically recommended as one of the initial investments for new investors by stock market regulators. Individuals who want to follow expert guidance can study the ABCs of ETFs in this article, which will help them get started with stock market investing quickly. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most basic trading concepts and how they relate to ETFs.

What are Exchange Traded Funds?

ETFs are similar to mutual funds in that they monitor indexes from several market sectors. The fund is made up of various other investors’ money, which is pooled and invested in a variety of assets. Investors, on the other hand, have more options than they do with mutual fund transactions. You can only make one transaction per day with a mutual fund, but with ETFs, you have more flexibility and independence. Unlike mutual funds, which have a set period for trading, you can buy and sell them whenever the market is open.

Benefits of ETFs


-Reduced fees

-Improved tax efficiency


-Assists investors in becoming familiar with a variety of market areas.

How to choose the right Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to invest in?

-Examine the underlying indices. Some of these funds seek to gain exposure to as many market sectors as possible, while others just seek to outperform the market. Most ETFs allow you to view their holdings without charge, so don’t be afraid to do so before making a purchase.

-Do not follow the common idea that the ETF with the lowest expense ratio is the better pick. Pay greater attention to the tracking difference. The smaller the gap, the better the fund. You’d have to trust the fund manager’s ability to watch indexes and anticipate other things that could impact the fund’s overall costs.

-Make certain you choose a liquid fund. Is it possible to trade it at a price that is close to its true worth? Before you go ahead and invest in that ETF, ask yourself these questions.

How to buy ETFs?

This step-by-step approach is especially helpful if you are new to trading and have never traded stocks before.

1. Set up an account with an online brokerage firm of your choice after doing your research and deciding which fund you wish to invest in.

2. Depending on which website brokerage you used to open your account, you will have a variety of options. All you have to do is type in the correct symbol and the number of shares you want to buy.

3. Understand the various forms of orders. There are three types of orders: market, limit and stop. Place an order based on how you want your ETF transaction to be handled. When you’re certain you’ve set your transaction’s exact conditions, submit the order and wait for an order update once the deal is completed.

Factors to consider


ETFs, like stocks, have daily trading volumes. Like a stock, the volume represents the number of units of an ETF that trade on any given day, and it is impacted by investor activity. In the case of ETFs, however, the daily volume is sometimes misinterpreted as a measure of liquidity. Continue reading to learn why.


Liquidity is one of the most misunderstood elements of ETFs. Insufficient trading volume with ETFs does not imply low liquidity, as it does with equities. The liquidity of an ETF’s underlying securities determines its liquidity. In case an ETF engages in securities with scarce volume or that are not easy to trade, market makers may be unable to create units of the ETF, affecting the liquidity of a portfolio.

Bid-ask spreads

The bid and ask prices of an ETF will, in most cases, roughly match the value of the underlying securities owned by the ETF. However, the gap between the bid and ask prices, known as the bid-ask spread, can be influenced by:

Underlying securities’ spreads

The spread on an ETF will reflect the spread on the underlying securities because it is effectively a basket of equities. If the underlying stocks are very liquid, the ETF should be highly liquid as well, with a minimal spread. Large-cap stocks are an example of this, as they typically have huge trading volumes and relatively narrow spreads. Spreads will be wider in asset classes that are less liquid.

Assembling and trading costs

The spread may be influenced by the cost of assembling and trading the securities that make up an ETF. For example, if an ETF invests in foreign stocks, the cost of converting Canadian dollars to the underlying currencies will be higher. Any regulatory expenses and taxes are another example.

Transaction volumes

When an investor purchases a substantial amount of an ETF that exceeds the market maker’s available inventory, the market maker may need to purchase huge quantities of the underlying securities in order to manufacture more ETF units. To complete the orders, you may have to pay higher asking prices, which are referred to as “market impact charges.”

Market risks

During periods of higher market risk or volatility, bid-ask spreads can also expand. If market makers are forced to take extra steps to enable trades during periods of high volatility, underlying security spreads may widen, resulting in wider ETF spreads.

Trading risk can develop when foreign markets are closed while domestic markets are open, for example, because market makers wouldn’t be able to buy more equities if they needed to issue more ETF units, nor would they be able to directly monitor the underlying prices of those assets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Do exchange-traded funds (ETFs) pay dividends?

Yes, provided that the underlying equities in the ETF pay dividends. The ETF issuer collects these companies’ dividends and distributes them to investors on a quarterly basis, based on the amount of shares the investor owns in the ETF. If none of the ETF’s underlying companies pay dividends, the ETF will not pay dividends as well. Some ETFs are designed particularly to maximize dividend income.

Q. How to sell an ETF?

ETFs, like stocks, can be sold at any time throughout the trading day, allowing investors to profit from intraday price changes. This is in contrast to mutual funds, which can only be bought at the end of the trading day for a price determined after the market closes.