DEFINITION of 'iShares'
A large provider of exchange-traded funds, managed by the investment management company BlackRock. iShares, Inc. funds began trading in the United States and the United Kingdom in 2000, and are listed on major exchanges such as the NYSE Euronext, Chicago Board Options Exchange, Nasdaq and NYSE Arca. In 2010, iShares, Inc. represented 46% of the U.S. ETF market, with over 440 funds and excess of $480 billion in assets under management.
BREAKING DOWN 'iShares'
One example of ETFs are shares of a portfolio intended to track a market index. Owning shares of an ETF differs from owning shares of an index mutual fund in that ETFs are traded like stocks and can be more tax efficient and cost efficient. For example, iShares' S&P 500 fund, IVV, is designed to track the performance of the S&P 500.