We have a select list of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) that we use for our portfolios. I have screened these funds for their internal fundamentals and holdings, as well as, long-term performance metrics. These are the funds that have done the best over time and are positioned to continue doing well in a changing world. These are great tools for building a tactically diversified portfolio or as bolt on holdings for a stock portfolio.
Refer to the grids below to see the Exchange Traded Funds – ETFs – that we are considering investing in. In each chart will be the fund name, symbol, buy range and a very brief rational for our bullish interest or general notes. There will generally be stocks in 20 to 30 ETFs in addition to the SPY, QQQ, DIA and SPDR Selects which are the core I build around. We also use a few Closed End Funds – CEFs.
Using Limit Orders
We extensively use “limit” orders to set up buys. This beats sitting around in front of a computer watching green and red numbers that mean little to nothing. The price you set your buy limits at will depend on your risk tolerance, outlook and investment approach. The buy range is based upon fundamental and technical factors which I have made far more conservative due to the decreasing demand for financial assets by baby boomers, which is a massive sea change in the investment world, and that threatens to cause greater volatility.
The buy price ranges are consistent with looking for a blend of margin of safety and investment opportunity. The lower you buy, obviously the greater margin of safety. You need to answer for yourself how much safety you need.
In general, I recommend buying a small starter position near the high-end of the buy range and a bigger position at the bottom of the buy range. By establishing a buy limit near the high-end of the buy range, you can often gain as these holdings are recognized as valuable and don’t generally trade low for long.
The lower-end of the buy range recognizes that markets have become more fragile and more likely to exemplify extreme behavior relative to the past – consider the 1000 point “flash crash” on the Dow on August 24th, 2015. It is okay to only buy the low-ends of the buy range and simply wait for the very bad days and weeks to be a buyer. In fact, I think that is a great strategy for patient investors looking to manage risk.
I am listing the “Bull Rationale” for these ETFs. You should search out the bear scenarios before investing and consider those.
These ETFs are used for the Global Trends ETF portfolio and Quarter Million Dollar portfolio which are position trading portfolios (most holdings are for a year or more). Swing Trading Opportunities, generally using options on these ETFs, as well as, a wider range of ETFs are primarily technical based, so, those do not appear on this page. To Swing trade, generally with holding periods from a few weeks to a few months, you should have experience or start very small.
Changes from last month will be in yellow.
Pale green is in or very near the buy range – remember to scale in as appropriate for your risk level.
See the Research section and Forum for research on various ETFs we are investing in.
|Market Vectors Africa||AFK||16-18||Fast growing due to youth, prior underdevelopment and resources. Very volatile.|
|Market Vectors Biotech||BBH||89-101||Top performing large cap biotech fund, 27 holdings, concentrated|
|Central Fund of Canada||CEF||10.50-11.80||2/3 gold bullion, 1/3 silver bullion, useful if we get another QE|
|SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average||DIA||136-164||Dow Jones Industrial Average|
|Global X SuperDividend U.S.||DIV||17-23||High dividends across various equities, inlcuding MLPs and REITs.|
|iShares MSCI Australia||EWA||17-19||Will benefit from oil/commodity rebound and proximity to China.|
|iShares MSCI Canada||EWC||19-22||Will benefit from oil/commodity rebound and proximity to U.S.|
|iShares MSCI Mexico||EWW||34-49||Will benefit from youth, tourism, proximity to U.S. however will be volatile|
|First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas||FCG||19-24||Index is reconstituted towards stronger survivors in the field. Look to enter before summer cooling season.|
|Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF||GDX||13-17||If central banks print more to stimulate, becomes very attractive. Due for a pullback.|
|SPDR Gold Shares||GLD||95-118||100% gold bullion, useful if we get another QE|
|iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology||IBB||216-254||All-cap biotech though weighted large cap, 2nd best performing, 190 holdings|
|iShares India||INDA||24-26||Young, developing infrastructure, tech savvy and fast growing though likely for a slowdown short-term.|
|iShares Russell 2000||IWM||88-106||Russell 2000 SMID cap|
|SPDR Barclays High Yield Bond||JNK||25-32||Good source of income after major corrections|
|PowerShares Agribusiness||MOO||33-43||Food which is a derivative play on water|
|PowerShares HY Equity Dividend Achievers||PEY||10-13||Strong dividend paying companies which has been a historically strong strategy|
|PowerShares Buyback Achievers||PKW||27-42||About the only thing holding stocks up have been buybacks|
|PowerShares FTSE RAFI US 1000||PRF||63-79||Strong dividend and fundamental weighted alternative to S&P 500 Index|
|PowerShares QQQ||QQQ||70-90||Nasdaq 100, very good somewhat diversified performer, easy to write options on|
|Guggenheim S&P 500 Pure Value||RPV||33-44||Low cost value approach with strong dividends and very good history|
|SPDR S&P 500||SPY||147-189||S&P 500 Index, large cap benchmark|
|Guggenheim Solar||TAN||18-22||High growth sector with government support|
|ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures||SVXY||20-30||Deteriorates in our favor. Worth buying off of big volatility spikes. Leveraged, so don’t trade.|
|iShares 20+ Yr Treasury Bond||TLT||127-129||Where the money will go on a flight to safety.|
|DB U.S. Dollar Index Bullish||UUP||23-24||Setting up for reversal higher on global volatility and significant rally, however, carries long-term risk|
|iPath S&P VIX Short-term Futures||VXX||13-14||Volatility likely to pick up summer 2016|
|SPDR Select Materials||XLB||33-36||Far off|
|SPDR Select Energy||XLE||50-60||Setting up for rally after retrace|
|SPDR Select Financial||XLF||17-21||Rising risk|
|SPDR Select Industrial||XLI||41-48||Flat due to slow growth and rising wages|
|SPDR Select Technology||XLK||29-35||Where the innovation and new profits are|
|SPDR Select Consumer Staples||XLP||41-45||Flat to slighly rising due to slow growth but rising wages|
|SPDR Select Utilities||XLU||41-45||Strong short-term, however, long-term risks|
|SPDR Select Health Care||XLV||53-60||Long-term growth opportunity, but beware of politicians with axes|
|SPDR Select Consumer Discretionary||XLY||63-69||Near top of current cycle, buy on pullbacks|
*I generally use * I use the SPDR Select Sector funds due to the extra liquidity and option liquidity, however, the Vanguard and iShares equivalents are virtually identical and can be used in the SPDR’s place if your brokerage offers lower trading commissions on those.