I use ETFs alot, and find they can be vastly superior to Mutual Funds in many ways. The WSJ did a nice comparo between ETFs and Index Funds last month:
"According to Boston-based Financial Research Corp., ETFs now account for nearly one-third of all assets devoted to so-called passive investing (a term for investments like index funds), up from 9% in 2000. In less than three years, the total number of ETFs has jumped nearly 70%, to 185, while the number of index funds has remained relatively flat. ETFs have even started popping up in 401(k) plans.
A key driver in the popularity of ETFs is the failure by many mutual-fund managers to beat the market for extended periods of time, even as they collect big management fees. Instead, many advisers have turned to a strategy of lower-cost index funds, and increasingly, ETFs."
Also of interest: ETFs trade intraday, as opposed to merely being a "price on close" vehicle. And, you can short an ETF without an uptick.
click for larger table
The Great Race: ETFs vs. Funds
New Opportunities for Indexing Complicate Investors’ Choices; Picking the Right Market ‘Slice’
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, November 5, 2005; Page B1