With generally lower expenses, opportunities to hedge, and the potential to be traded throughout the day, exchange-traded funds have enjoyed great popularity recently, but the very elements that make them attractive to investors may also result in lackluster returns, according to The New York Times.

The Hulbert Financial Digest, a service from Marketwatch, monitored 82 newsletters over a 10-year span, each of which tracked the performance of a sample portfolio. In fact, on average, open-ended fund portfolios returned 0.98%, while ETF-only portfolios made 0.76%.

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