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Exchange-Traded Funds - Liquidity

Liquidity is usually measured by the daily trade volume, which is generally expressed as the number of shares traded per day. Thinly traded securities are illiquid and have higher spreads and volatility. When there is little interest and low trading volume, the spread increases, causing the buyer to pay a price premium and forcing the seller into a price discount in order to get the security sold. ETFs, for the most part, are immune to this. ETF liquidity is not related to its daily trading volume, but rather to the liquidity of the stocks included in the index.

Broad-based index ETFs with significant assets and trading volume have liquidity. For narrow ETF categories, or even country-specific products that have relatively small amounts of assets and are thinly traded, ETF liquidity could dry up in severe market conditions, so you may wish to steer clear of ETFs that track thinly traded markets or have very few underlying securities or small market caps in the respective index.

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