After a solid performance in Q3, the Wall Street continued to scale new highs to start the fourth quarter, dodging all economic and political ills. This indicates that the second-largest bull run still has legs.
Strong corporate earnings and improving health of economies around the world are acting as tailwinds to the stock market. Additionally, stabilizing oil price, enthusiasm over tax reform and rounds of upbeat data are adding to the strength. Further, the Fed’s hawkish stance signals a strengthening economy, which will fuel further growth in the stock market.
Bull Remains Intact
After diverging in the past couple of months, the Dow Jones Transportation Average has caught up with the rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, indicating continued bullish trend as we head into the fourth quarter. According to the century-old Dow Theory, any long-lasting rally in Dow Jones Industrial should be accompanied by a rally in Dow Jones Transportation.
If we go by history, the fourth quarter has often been kind to equities with the holiday months of November and December, when spending picks up. Per Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA, history suggests that when the S&P 500 gains in August and September, often the worst months of the year, it typically rallies through the end of the fourth quarter for a 2% average gain. If this wasn’t enough, long-time bull finance professor, Jeremy Siegel, expects stocks to rally 10% in the last 101 days of the year courtesy of Trump effect, especially tax reforms.
Given this, we have highlighted some strategies that could prove extremely beneficial for investors for the fourth quarter.
Winning ETF Strategies for Q4: Bet on Holiday-Friendly Sectors
Technology and consumer discretionary sectors are poised for outperformance, as these tend to enjoy seasonal tailwinds because of holiday spending.
While these sectors are crowded with a number of top ranked ETFs, Select Sector SPDR Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:XLK), iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (NASDAQ:SOXX), First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index (NYSEARCA:FDN), Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (NYSEARCA:VCR), S&P SmallCap Consumer Discretionary Portfolio (NASDAQ:PSCD) and SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEARCA:XRT) could make for compelling choices. All these have a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
Winning ETF Strategies for Q4: Make a Trump Play
Trump proposed the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in three decades that would make America more competitive. His plan calls for lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, reducing the number of income tax brackets from seven to three with the top level rate being cut to 35%, cutting taxes for small businesses and doubling the size of Americans’ standard deductions in a bid to bolster take-home pay for the middle class.
Though the move is advantageous for all the market caps, small caps will be the biggest beneficiaries as they pay a median effective tax rate of 31.9% versus an average of 28% for the S&P 500 companies and 23.8% for the Dow Jones companies.
While there are several options in this space that would gain from the proposal, a bunch of Zacks Rank #2 ETFs — Vanguard Russell 2000 Growth ETF (NASDAQ:VTWG), Guggenheim S&P SmallCap 600 Pure Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:RZG), First Trust Small Cap Growth AlphaDEX Fund (NASDAQ:FYC), iShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:IWO) and iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Growth ETF (NYSEARCA:JKK) — are worth a look.
Winning ETF Strategies for Q4: Go Global
While the U.S. stock market has been climbing, international investing is the real winner so far this year courtesy of cheap valuations and threats of political instability in the United States.
The trend is likely to continue for the rest of the year and thus, investors should go global to take advantage of a surge in both domestic and international markets. This can easily be done through the ultra- popular funds — Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (NYSEARCA:VT) andiShares MSCI ACWI ETF (NASDAQ:ACWI). Both have a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold).
Winning ETF Strategies for Q4: Tap Rising Rates
Treasury yields are on rise as 2-year Treasury yield hit the highest level since 2008 and the 10-year yield touched a three-month high. The upward push is expected to continue after the September job report showed a pickup in U.S. wage growth, suggesting that tight labor markets might finally drive inflation higher and bolster the case for rate hikes in December.
The best way to play the rising rates in the equity world is through the financial sector. This is because the steepening yield curve would bolster profits for banks, insurance companies, discount brokerage firms, and asset managers. Among the most interesting picks are Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLF), Vanguard Financials ETF (NYSEARCA:VFH) and First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (NASDAQ:QABA). All these funds have a Zacks ETF Rank #2.
For the fixed-income world, investing in floating rate notes, senior loans and negative duration bond ETFs make up for intriguing picks. Some of these are iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF (BATS:FLOT), PowerShares Senior Loan ETF (NYSEARCA:BKLN) and WisdomTree Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Negative Duration Fund (NASDAQ:AGND).
Winning ETF Strategies for Q4: Safeguard Your Portfolio With Value Picks
Given that the market is at its peak, valuations are also stretched with the S&P 500 currently trading at a P/E of 24.70. As a result, investors can find quality picks in value ETFs that offer exposure to stocks having strong fundamentals — earnings, dividends, book value and cash flow — that trade below their intrinsic value and are undervalued.
Among these, the most popular are iShares Russell 1000 Value ETF (NYSEARCA:IWD), Vanguard Value ETF (NYSEARCA:VTV), iShares S&P 500 Value ETF (NYSEARCA:IVE) and Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF (NYSEARCA:VBR). These fund have a Zacks ETF Rank #3.
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