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Best Bond ETFs Right Now

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To a vast majority, investing mainly involves the stock market. The bond market, however, is larger. The U.S. stock market is valued at slightly above $30 trillion while the bond market’s value is about $43 trillion. And as the stock market falls, tense investors look to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds for sanity and protection. ETFs aren’t reserved entirely for equities — bond ETFs invest exclusively in fixed-income securities.

Bonds essentially are loans — to municipalities, corporations or government agencies — and investors are repaid their principal with interest over time. Although they aren’t as exciting or flashy as stocks, bond ETFs may guide a retiree or anyone approaching retirement toward a safe, steady return. They combine hundreds or thousands of bonds into a single financial product that you can trade on an exchange.

Bond ETFs Biggest Gainers and Losers

Bond ETFs are not immune to turbulence across the credit spectrum. In fact, they do not guarantee return to investors as much as conventional bond funds do. Bond ETFs are easily impacted by interest rate movements. Their value only increases when the prevailing interest rates decrease. 

Soaring interest rates only decrease the fund value. The risks greatly depend on the funds in your portfolio. This is why the selection process is crucial.

Here is a list of bond ETF investments — funds that were hit the most and least. Review these daily lists to assess the movement of individual ETFs in real-time.

Gainers

Session: Mar 4, 2021 4:00 pm – Mar 5, 2021 3:59 pm
Symbol Open Close Change Change % Volume
Buy PFF Stock – Trade for Free PFF
iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF
37.26 37.64 0.38 1.01% 5.82M
Buy PGX Stock – Trade for Free PGX
Invesco Preferred ETF
14.67 14.78 0.11 0.71% 5.71M
Buy FPE Stock – Trade for Free FPE
First Trust Preferred Securities and Income ETF ETF
20.02 20.11 0.09 0.44% 1.37M
Buy HYLB Stock – Trade for Free HYLB
Xtrackers USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF
49.57 49.73 0.16 0.32% 4.79M
Buy HYG Stock – Trade for Free HYG
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF
86.36 86.63 0.27 0.30% 43.03M
Buy SHYG Stock – Trade for Free SHYG
iShares 0-5 Year High Yield Corporate Bond ETF
45.35 45.49 0.14 0.30% 93.89K
Buy JNK Stock – Trade for Free JNK
SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF
107.89 108.18 0.29 0.26% 15.10M
Buy BKLN Stock – Trade for Free BKLN
Invesco Senior Loan ETF
22.17 22.23 0.06 0.24% 6.72M
Buy SJNK Stock – Trade for Free SJNK
SPDR Bloomberg Barclays Short Term High Yield Bond ETF
27.07 27.14 0.07 0.24% 6.04M
Buy TFI Stock – Trade for Free TFI
SPDR Nuveen Bloomberg Barclays Municipal Bond ETF
51.42 51.53 0.11 0.21% 31.25K
Buy TLT Stock – Trade for Free TLT
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF
138.64 138.93 0.29 0.20% 18.10M
Buy SCHP Stock – Trade for Free SCHP
Schwab U.S. TIPs ETF
60.91 60.99 0.08 0.13% 1.19M
Buy SHM Stock – Trade for Free SHM
SPDR Nuveen Bloomberg Barclays Short Term Municipal Bond ETF
49.51 49.57 0.06 0.12% 23.88K
Buy VTEB Stock – Trade for Free VTEB
Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF
54.37 54.44 0.07 0.12% 1.00M
Buy TIP Stock – Trade for Free TIP
iShares TIPS Bond ETF
125.12 125.27 0.15 0.11% 1.97M
Buy BNDX Stock – Trade for Free BNDX
Vanguard Total International Bond ETF
57.11 57.16 0.05 0.07% 2.39M
Buy MUB Stock – Trade for Free MUB
iShares National Muni Bond ETF
115.47 115.50 0.03 0.02% 84.85K
Buy VTIP Stock – Trade for Free VTIP
Vanguard Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index Fund
51.48 51.50 0.02 0.02% 1.98M
Buy GBIL Stock – Trade for Free GBIL
Goldman Sachs Access Treasury 0-1 Year ETF
100.12 100.14 0.02 0.01% 1.13M

Losers

Session: Mar 4, 2021 4:00 pm – Mar 5, 2021 3:59 pm
Symbol Open Close Change Change % Volume
Buy EMLC Stock – Trade for Free EMLC
VanEck Vectors J.P. Morgan EM Local Currency Bond ETF
31.25 31.12 -0.14 -0.44% 3.25M
Buy VCIT Stock – Trade for Free VCIT
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF
93.66 93.42 -0.25 -0.27% 9.25M
Buy BLV Stock – Trade for Free BLV
Vanguard Long-Term Bond ETF
98.84 98.62 -0.22 -0.23% 31.84K
Buy IGIB Stock – Trade for Free IGIB
iShares 5-10 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
59.59 59.47 -0.12 -0.21% 1.16M
Buy BIV Stock – Trade for Free BIV
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond ETF
89.53 89.36 -0.17 -0.19% 1.87M
Buy IEF Stock – Trade for Free IEF
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF
114.58 114.43 -0.16 -0.14% 8.19M
Buy SPIB Stock – Trade for Free SPIB
SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF
36.36 36.32 -0.05 -0.13% 6.45M
Buy SCHZ Stock – Trade for Free SCHZ
Schwab US Aggregate Bond ETF
54.22 54.17 -0.05 -0.10% 75.45K
Buy VGIT Stock – Trade for Free VGIT
Vanguard Intermediate-Term Treasury ETF
67.74 67.68 -0.07 -0.10% 1.28M
Buy SPAB Stock – Trade for Free SPAB
SPDR Portfolio Aggregate Bond ETF
29.80 29.78 -0.03 -0.09% 1.00M
Buy BND Stock – Trade for Free BND
Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF
85.15 85.08 -0.08 -0.09% 6.01M
Buy IUSB Stock – Trade for Free IUSB
iShares Core Total USD Bond Market ETF
52.95 52.91 -0.05 -0.09% 1.42M
Buy AGG Stock – Trade for Free AGG
iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF
114.36 114.27 -0.09 -0.08% 5.84M
Buy IEI Stock – Trade for Free IEI
iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF
130.59 130.51 -0.09 -0.07% 1.50M
Buy SCHR Stock – Trade for Free SCHR
Schwab Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury ETF
56.80 56.77 -0.03 -0.06% 35.47K
Buy USIG Stock – Trade for Free USIG
iShares Broad USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
59.09 59.06 -0.03 -0.06% 55.71K
Buy VCSH Stock – Trade for Free VCSH
Vanguard Short-Term Corporate Bond ETF
82.53 82.49 -0.05 -0.06% 4.80M
Buy IGSB Stock – Trade for Free IGSB
iShares 1-5 Year Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF
54.70 54.68 -0.02 -0.04% 4.05M
Buy MBB Stock – Trade for Free MBB
iShares MBS ETF
109.03 108.99 -0.04 -0.04% 1.43M
Buy VMBS Stock – Trade for Free VMBS
Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF
53.68 53.66 -0.02 -0.04% 1.87M

Premarket Bond ETFs

You may trade in the premarket hours — 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. — when participation is voluntary. This trading session may offer inferior prices and less liquidity, so bid-ask spreads are common. Prices may move quickly in this environment.

Losers

Session: Mar 5, 2021 4:00 pm – Mar 8, 2021 5:14 am
Symbol Open Close Change Change % Volume
Buy TLT Stock – Trade for Free TLT
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF
138.91 138.10 -0.81 -0.59% 11.17K

Aftermarket Bond ETFs

ETFs can be traded after the close of the regular market session. Late-breaking news and events can affect your holdings. The trade volume is usually much lower than the premarket and regular market sessions. You may reap some short-term profits but be sure to weigh the benefits against the risks of aftermarket trading.

Gainers

Session: Mar 5, 2021 4:00 pm – Mar 5, 2021 7:59 pm
Symbol Open Close Change Change % Volume
Buy TLT Stock – Trade for Free TLT
iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF
138.91 139.50 0.59 0.42% 1.65M
Buy PGX Stock – Trade for Free PGX
Invesco Preferred ETF
14.79 14.80 0.02 0.10% 8.64K
Buy PFF Stock – Trade for Free PFF
iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF
37.63 37.66 0.03 0.07% 1.08M
Buy EMB Stock – Trade for Free EMB
iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF
108.60 108.66 0.06 0.05% 50.85K
Buy BKLN Stock – Trade for Free BKLN
Invesco Senior Loan ETF
22.22 22.23 0.01 0.04% 1.91M

Losers

Session: Mar 5, 2021 4:00 pm – Mar 5, 2021 7:59 pm
Symbol Open Close Change Change % Volume
Buy VMBS Stock – Trade for Free VMBS
Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF
53.67 53.55 -0.12 -0.23% 8.26K
Buy BND Stock – Trade for Free BND
Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF
85.10 85.00 -0.10 -0.12% 60.61K
Buy VGSH Stock – Trade for Free VGSH
Vanguard Short-Term Treasury ETF
61.52 61.45 -0.07 -0.12% 0.83K
Buy IEF Stock – Trade for Free IEF
iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond ETF
114.42 114.35 -0.07 -0.07% 23.28K
Buy HYG Stock – Trade for Free HYG
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF
86.61 86.58 -0.03 -0.04% 2.54M
Buy IEI Stock – Trade for Free IEI
iShares 3-7 Year Treasury Bond ETF
130.50 130.48 -0.02 -0.02% 9.78K
Buy SHV Stock – Trade for Free SHV
iShares Short Treasury Bond ETF
110.51 110.50 -0.01 -0.01% 6.10K
Buy TIP Stock – Trade for Free TIP
iShares TIPS Bond ETF
125.26 125.25 -0.01 -0.01% 32.27K

Why Invest in Bond ETFs?

Here are 3 reasons why bond ETFs should be part of your fixed-income portfolio.

  • Regular income: Bond ETFs are usually attached to thousands of underlying bonds. Instead of semi-annual coupon payments, bond ETF investors receive a monthly interest payment. While the amount may vary, the monthly payments provide a regular income stream to invest or use.
  • Easier to trade: Bonds do not attract as much attention as stocks because they are illiquid and not as exciting. Most investors aren’t looking to wade through the markets haggling over prices; they just want to buy bonds and hold onto them until maturity. Bond ETFs will provide liquidity that isn’t available with the underlying bonds.
  • Safer than equities: Although bonds have historically returned less than equities, the smaller return is buffered by some level of safety. Provided the government or underlying company remains solvent, your bonds won’t default. And in the event of a liquidation, bondholders are paid before shareholders.

3 Bond ETFs by AUM

The best bond ETF should feature investment grade securities — have low risk of default, track its benchmark closely and provide the right balance between ease-of-trade and low fees. 

Here are Benzinga’s top 3 bond ETFs by assets under management (AUM).

1. Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND)

Symbol Company % Change Price Invest
BND Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF
+ 0%
$85.10 Buy stock

The Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSE: BND) is the largest fixed-income-based ETF in the world, with a total AUM at $259.3 billion. It comprises a diversified portfolio across 9,237 individual bond issuances and an expense ratio of 0.035% — among the best in the business. 

While BND is dominated by treasuries — 65.8% invested in U.S. Government debt – it also includes exposure to high-quality corporates with bonds from Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). The fund tracks the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Float Adjusted Index.

2. Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (BNDX)

Symbol Company % Change Price Invest
BNDX Vanguard Total International Bond ETF
+ 0%
$57.16 Buy stock

Here’s another one from the Vanguard fund — the Total International Bond ETF – that gives investors exposure to international bonds that are in non-U.S. currency denominations. The index includes government, corporate, government agency and securitized non-U.S. fixed-income investments with maturities of more than 1 year. As of March 2020, this fund had 6,173 bonds, with the highest concentrations in Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. The fund’s 0.08% expense ratio gives it a cost advantage over other international bonds, with 73% of the underlying securities rated A or higher.

3. iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG)

Symbol Company % Change Price Invest
AGG iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF
+ 0%
$114.28 Buy stock

The iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (NYSE: AGG) provides an easy, low-cost way to diversify your portfolio with U.S. investment-grade bonds. Based on total return over the last 5 years, AGG has outperformed 66% of funds in the Intermediate Core Bond Morningstar category, which includes 327 funds. 

The ETF boasts over 7,000 bonds covering 5 broad fixed-income sectors. Close to 70% of the fund is allocated to high-quality, government-backed securities, including U.S. Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities, with the remaining 30% spread among municipal securities, corporate bonds and non-corporate credit. This fund owns $69 billion in total net assets and its 0.04% expense ratio is over 90% cheaper than average funds in its Morningstar category.

Best Online Brokers for Bond ETFs

An online broker is probably the fastest and cheapest way to invest in bond ETFs. Most of what you’ll need to execute and track trades is only a button away. Here are the best online brokers to trade top ETFs.

Commissions
$0 when you trade stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds online
Account Minimum
$0

1.  Firstrade

Firstrade offers several perks: access to over 2,200 commission-free ETFs, $0 minimum account opening balances and great customer service available to assist you through email, phone or chat. Through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Firstrade offers up to $500,000 of insurance coverage, with a $250,000 limit for cash balances.

Research offerings are also in abundance, including daily, weekly and quarterly video commentary, a Market Heatmap to view all bearish and bullish areas, charting tools and breaking news and event updates from credible news providers like PR Newswire, Morningstar, Benzinga and Zacks. Firstrade also handles international accounts, with the exclusion of some countries. You can also enjoy extended-hour trading with a Firstrade account.

Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Minimum
$0

2. TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade immerses you in the ETF trading experience with its state-of-the-art platforms, a full learning center and awesome trading tools.  You can choose from over 400 bond ETFs — over 300 are commission-free. 

It offers 2 trading platforms, an intuitive web platform and a more advanced thinkorswim platform. The web platform offers objective fundamental research tools and technical analyses for confident trading. Thinkorswim is for serious ETF traders who want extensive onboarding resources, comprehensive charting and market monitors.

TD Ameritrade also offers ready-made bond ladders besides letting you create your own with its Bond WizardTM tool. Its fixed-income specialists can help with all your investment strategy and fixed-income needs. Educational resources are also available through articles, videos, in-person events, webcasts and immersive courses. You’ll need to get approved for margin privileges if you intend to take a short position in ETFs.

Experience Bond ETFs Your Way

Fixed-income securities and bonds can be a less volatile addition to your portfolio. Bond ETFs offer many other benefits besides a potentially lower risk profile, like income generation and diversification. 

With the right mix, your diversified basket of bonds will do more than just preserve your capital, even if you have relatively little capital to invest. And with a greater depth of available inventory, visibility into recent trades and access to most of the secondary market offers, you can get a better snapshot of a bond’s value and liquidity than ever before. It’s time to leave the speculative penny stocks world and experience the big bond world! 

Turn to Webull

0 Commissions and no deposit minimums. Everyone gets smart tools for smart investing. Webull supports full extended hours trading, which includes full pre-market (4:00 AM - 9:30 AM ET) and after hours (4:00 PM - 8:00 PM ET) sessions. Webull Financial LLC is registered with and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also a member of the SIPC, which protects (up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash) against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.