The first quarter of 2017 looked like it was going to be magical. The S&P 500 rocketed more than 7% higher by early March, and it looked like nothing could get in the way of the various “Trump plays” leading the market higher.
It was a confluence of things. The fourth-quarter earnings season slowed to its close, taking with it the big-pop opportunities across the stock market. The market as a whole had gotten outstandingly overpriced, which dulled investors’ buying spirits. And more and more attention was paid to President Donald Trump, Congress and a healthcare bill that quickly seemed doomed to fail amid no Democratic support and a split Republican majority.
While the market finished well more than 5% higher for the quarter, it gained no ground in March, and did so in herky-jerky fashion. Now, Wall Street is threatening to enter the second quarter amid uncertainty, volatility … and mired in a funk.
So, what should your strategy be heading into the rest of the year?
I, for one, like exchange-traded funds (ETFs) much better than stocks right now simply because their diversity might not prevent losses as a whole, but they’ll minimize the damage from any precipitous plunges in individual equities. And because volatility looks to be settling in, you should definitely take a defensive tack — the picks today emphasize that over all else.
Here’s my look at the 10 best ETFs to buy right now for this suddenly unstable market.