The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been good for the stock market. Whether you agree with his policies or not, there is optimism for the future of the global economy that is being reflected in the recent price action.
Now, of course, that doesn’t mean we are going to see a straight path of gains for the next four years. There are going to be myriad stumbling blocks, uncertainty, and possibly even a bear market that will creep up when we least expect it. Those declines will be opportunities for those who are ready to take advantage with cash on the sidelines and a well-tuned watch list of solid funds to buy.
Those who have followed me for years know that I’m not one to change my investment outlook or discipline based on the prevailing political climate. I have always advocated that you keep politics out of your portfolio and instead focus on the factors that you can control. These qualities include: security selection, position sizing, asset allocation and any risk management tools you choose to employ.
With that goal in mind, here are a short list of my favorite exchange-traded funds that should be on your radar over the next several years.
Best ETFs: iShares S&P 500 Value ETF (IVE)
Click to Enlarge Yield: 2.4%
Growth stocks, especially those in the technology and consumer discretionary fields, have had their day in the sun. Investors have been handsomely rewarded for the strength of these companies over the course of this long bull market. In my opinion, however, we are starting to see a turning of the tide toward the value sector of the market.
IShares S&P 500 Value Index (ETF) (NYSEARCA:IVE) is one way to play this trend through a diversified and low-cost investment vehicle. This ETF has over 350 large-cap stocks culled from the larger S&P 500 Index with fundamental qualities that suggest they may be undervalued. Top sectors within IVE include: financials (26%), health care (12%) and consumer staples (12%).
A fund like IVE can be used for core U.S. stock exposure to keep your portfolio correlated with the domestic equity markets. It will largely follow the direction of most major indices and charges a modest 0.18% expense ratio to track its underlying index.
I have owned this fund for clients of my wealth management firm for some time now and continue to believe its index methodology, costs and transparency are positive characteristics for the foreseeable future. Other similar funds in the value category that may be suitable are the Vanguard Value ETF (NYSEARCA:VTV) or iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (NYSEARCA:IWD).
Best ETFs: Vanguard International High Dividend ETF (VYMI)
Click to Enlarge Yield: 2.65%
The story for international stocks has become more and more compelling with the multi-year outperformance of U.S. markets. Many international countries are showing significant relative value and offer qualities that may be attractive for those seeking new opportunities abroad.
Vanguard International High Dividend Yield ETF (NASDAQ:VYMI) is designed to take advantage of this trend through exposure to over 900 dividend stocks in foreign markets. This relatively new fund from Vanguard just celebrated it’s one-year anniversary and has already accumulated $270 million in assets. VYMI has 53% of the portfolio dedicated to Europe, 19% in emerging markets, 20% in Asia and the remaining in North America.
As is the Vanguard way, this ETF only charges a modest expense ratio of 0.32%, which is among the lowest of its peer group. The yield, based on trailing 12-month dividends, is 2.65% and income is paid quarterly to shareholders.
I like VYMI for income investors that are considering additional overseas stock exposure in a highly-diversified investment vehicle. While the current entry point at all-time highs is not ideal, this type of fund should certainly be on your watch list when we receive the gift of a global market correction.
Those who consider themselves more aggressive, however, may opt for a regional fund such as the WisdomTree Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund (NYSEARCA:DEM). As an alternative to VYMI, this type of fund can be used to overweight your international exposure toward a regional theme or simply as a stand-alone allocation.
Best ETFs: SPDR DoubleLine Total Return Tactical ETF (TOTL)
Click to Enlarge Yield: 3.25%
Expenses: 0.55% (After 10-basis point fee waiver)
Turning to the fixed-income side of the ledger, there continues to be a notable advantage in the implementation of active management to pursue total return. Active managers have the flexibility to shift their portfolios towards sectors showing unique value characteristics or insulate them from outsized risks (such as rising interest rates).
SPDR DoubleLine Total Return Tactical ETF (NYSEARCA:TOTL) is one of my favorite ETFs in this space because it’s run by a world-class team led by Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital. It’s constructed using a mix of mortgage backed securities, Treasury bonds, corporate bonds and emerging market fixed-income with enough diversification to act as a core bond holding.
Currently, TOTL has a modified adjusted duration of 4.68 years and is generally positioned with less interest rate risk than its benchmark, the Barclays Aggregate U.S. Bond Index.
I own TOTL in my own account and those of my clients as a means of anchoring the fixed-income sleeve of our portfolios. In my opinion, the expertise in managing credit and interest rate risks over the next several years will be worth the modestly higher expense ratio of 0.55% versus an ultra-low cost index fund.
Another actively managed fund I also hold in high regard is the Pimco Total Return ETF (NYSEARCA:BOND). This ETF has demonstrated a strong track record in recent years through its multi-manager team approach and world-class investment research, and it’s worth considering as well.
David Fabian is Managing Partner and Chief Operations Officer of FMD Capital Management. To get more investor insights from FMD Capital, visit their blog. Click here to download their latest special report, The Strategic Approach to Income Investing. Learn More: Why I love ETFs, And You Should Too.