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How to Strengthen Your Core Portfolio

Your portfolio's core should be strong, but it doesn't have to be boring

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The Guggenheim S&P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP) has the same number of stocks as SPY, but every stock in the ETF has between 0.15% and 0.25% in weighting. This will allow smaller companies within the index to have a much greater effect on the total return of the fund. Over time, the performance discrepancy can be quite significant if smaller stocks outperform. Just this year, RSP has outperformed SPY by more than 6%.

Minimum-Volatility ETFs

Volatility is a word that has become increasingly synonymous with today’s fast-paced markets. One way to lower the volatility of your portfolio is to consider adding core ETFs that are designed to select stocks with the smallest price fluctuations. Two funds that accomplish this are the PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility Portfolio (IDLV) or the iShares MSCI U.S. Minimum Volatility ETF (USMV).

Generally you will see these low-volatility funds decline less than their fully loaded index peers during periods of price decline. For trend followers and active managers these funds may give us the ability to stay invested during periods of short-term market corrections instead of getting stopped out of a position.

Dividend ETFs

Dividend yield has become an increasingly popular focus among investors trying to generate an income stream from their portfolio. Two of my favorite ETFs that focus exclusively on dividend yield are the iShares Select Dividend ETF (DVY) and the First Trust NASDAQ Technology Dividend Index (TDIV).

Both of these funds screen for dividend stocks with the highest yields within their respective indexes. The addition of the dividend back into the total return of the ETF over time can have a major impact on long-term performance, enhancing shareholder value.

The Final Word

No matter how you ultimately structure your portfolio, it is important to consider strengthening your game plan with new strategies. Because the ETFs in mentioned in this article are already broadly diversified, you only need between 4 to 6 positions in order to have a well-balanced core. This keeps your portfolio simple and easy to track.

In addition, you can implement stop losses on these ETFs to limit your downside risk in the event that the market turns lower. If you get stopped out of a position, you can move to cash and then reassess new opportunities as they present themselves.

David Fabian is Managing Partner and Chief Operations Officer of Fabian Capital Management. As of this writing, he was long USMV. Learn More:  3 Tenets Of Sound Risk Management

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