Were you at your desk when the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 17,000?
If so, you were in the minority.
Dow 17k came on extremely low volume — part and parcel of the July-August stretch of the year when market volume tends to stumble into the basement.
On its own, low volume isn’t all that bad. But when mixed with several potentially explosive story lines — tensions rising between Israel and Hamas, Ukraine focusing its military efforts on Donetsk, Typhoon Neoguri blasting Japan — it’s time to worry about volatility, too.
Because in a low-volume market, it doesn’t take much to move the needle. One bullish piece of economic data becomes a little more likely to juice Wall Street, and one bearish piece of corporate news gains a lot more potential to derail an industry, or even the broader markets.
Not to mention, short-term volatility can wreak havoc on investors from a psychological standpoint. Quick, irrational losses can spark panic selling in untested investors at the very time a patient, steady hand is called for.
Thus, one of the best things you can do for some financial peace of mind is hunker down in a few safe, sensible funds that will get you through tumultuous times … and also help you build toward the future when the markets are back to a smooth glide upward.
For my part, I typically invest in exchange-traded funds, so let’s look at some of the best ETFs to keep you safe and profitable through most any season: