A Dive Into the Largest Mid-Cap ETFs


The term net assets refers to the amount of capital invested into an exchange-traded fund (ETF) and is a good measure for investors to use as a gauge of relative popularity when comparing funds. Those ETFs with only a few million dollars invested are relatively underfollowed and tend to be rather illiquid. On the other hand, ETFs with many millions invested tend to be held by institutional investors and carry an added level of stability.

In this article, we’ll look at the largest ETFs that focus on mid-cap stocks, ranking the funds by their net assets. This article will also focus on the similarities and differences between the mid-cap ETFs when it comes to fundamentals from expense ratios to portfolio holdings.

Key Takeaways

  • The iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (IJH), with net assets of $63.5 billion, is the largest publicly traded ETF that is focused on the mid-cap segment.
  • The breakdown of the holdings of the five most popular mid-cap ETFs when ranked by net assets differs slightly and is due to the differences in the underlying benchmarks.
  • Research-driven investors can identify interesting investment candidates by analyzing the top holdings of popular mid-cap ETFs.

iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (IJH)

The iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (IJH), with net assets of $63.5 billion, is the largest publicly traded ETF that is focused on the mid-cap segment. The fund’s managers seek to provide investors with a low-cost and tax-efficient method for gaining exposure to U.S. mid-cap stocks.

Fundamentally, the fund comprises 403 holdings and carries an expense ratio of 0.05%. The fund has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.26%. As you can see from the list of the top five holdings below, this fund has a bit more exposure toward industrials and materials relative to other mid-cap-focused funds.

  • Targa Resources Corp. (TRGP)
  • Steel Dynamics Inc. (STLD)
  • Alcoa Corp. (AA)
  • Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (CLF)
  • Wolfspeed Inc. (WOLF)

Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF (VO)

The Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF (VO) has net assets of $53.2 billion and carries an expense ratio of 0.04%, which is slightly below the IJH ETF discussed above. Again, this fund seeks to provide investors with low-cost exposure to U.S. mid-cap equity. The VO ETF employs a passively managed, full-replication strategy that seeks to minimize tracking error with its CRSP U.S. Mid Cap Index benchmark.

Fundamentally, the fund comprises 370 holdings and carries a 1.26% dividend yield. Based on the top five holdings shown below, investors can expect to find a slightly greater level of exposure to sectors such as information technology and healthcare.

  • Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW)
  • Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)
  • Centene Corp. (CNC)
  • Fortinet Inc. (FTNT)
  • Synopsys Inc. (SNPS)

iShares Russell Mid-Cap ETF (IWR)

The iShares Russell Mid-Cap ETF (IWR) is another targeted ETF that looks to provide U.S. investors with domestic exposure to the mid-cap segment of the market. The fund carries an expense ratio of 0.19%, which is higher than previous ETFs, but it also provides a larger view of the segment, with 824 total holdings.

With total net assets of $29.9 billion, the fund is very popular, and it has a 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.14%. Looking at the top holdings below, you’ll notice that IWR’s top constituents have a tilt toward sectors such as technology and energy.

  • Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW)
  • Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)
  • Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM)
  • Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC)
  • Marvell Technology Inc. (MRVL)

SPDR S&P MIDCAP 400 ETF Trust (MDY)

As the name suggests, the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF (MDY) seeks to track the S&P MidCap 400 Index, which is similar in nature to the iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF discussed above.

Fundamentally, the fund comprises 400 holdings with a near identical sector allocation as IJH. In the case of MDY, the fund carries a higher expense ratio of 0.23% and has total net assets of $19.49 billion.

  • Targa Resources Corp (TRGP)
  • Steel Dynamics Inc. (STLD)
  • Alcoa Corp. (AA)
  • Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. (CLF)
  • Wolfspeed Inc. (WOLF)

Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF (VOE)

With total net assets of $16.3 billion, the Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF (VOE) is a popular mid-cap-focused ETF that seeks to provide investors with targeted exposure to the U.S. mid-cap equity segment through a lens of the value investor. This means that the fund’s managers look to add positions that are attractive from a valuation perspective compared to their underlying fundamentals.

The fund has a dividend yield of 2.02%, which is slightly higher than other mid-cap ETFs mentioned and carries a relative low expense ratio of 0.07%. Here is a look at the fund’s top five holdings, which is slightly more focused on basic materials relative to the funds mentioned above.

  • Carrier Global Corp. (CARR)
  • Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY)
  • Corteva Inc. (CTVA)
  • Nucor Corp. (NUE)
  • Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI)

The Bottom Line

When investors look to gain exposure to the mid-cap segment of the market, they often turn to low-cost, targeted ETFs such as the ones mentioned above. As of April 2022, these funds are the most popular based on net assets, and that is subject to change.

Fundamentally, the holdings vary slightly depending on the underlying benchmark that the fund’s managers are seeking to track, and this is something to consider when choosing a mid-cap ETF as a candidate for a diversified portfolio. Mid-cap investors who want an even more targeted approach may wish to examine the top holdings of these types of ETFs as a method for identifying potential investment candidates.

Why Do Some Large-Caps Appear as Holdings of a Mid-Cap ETF?

Generally, a large-cap is regarded as a company with a market capitalization of more than $10 billion. Sometimes companies of large-cap scale are found within mid-cap ETFs because they were considered mid-cap at the time they were added to the fund and still have certain characteristics of a mid-cap. However, due to strong performance, some of these holdings may now actually be akin to a large-cap.

What Is the Largest Mid-Cap ETF Based on Net Assets?

As of early April 2022, the iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (IJH), with net assets of $63.5 billion, is the largest publicly traded ETF that is focused on the mid-cap segment.



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