As the world grapples with the banking sector fallout, investors may want to consider safe index funds to buy just in case. More than likely, the world won’t implode into an apocalyptic mess. However, with the Federal Reserve committed to tackling inflation despite serious concerns about financial sector viability, market participants should think more about preserving their wealth rather than just growing it.
With safe index funds to buy, investors can bolster their chances of protection while staying in the market. An index fund represents a type of mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that attempts to match or track elements of a major index such as the S&P 500. Essentially, this investment category allows participants to benefit from a basket of securities, thereby improving upside success. As well, losses can be distributed over a wider canvas, facilitating greater confidence. At this moment, that’s exactly what we all need. Below are the safe index funds to buy for investors seeking shelter.
|VOO||Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF||$361.98|
|DIA||SPDR DJIA ETF Trust||$322.88|
|XLP||Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund||$73.56|
|IWV||iShares Russell 3000 ETF||$226.47|
|IWM||iShares Russell 2000 ETF||$172.98|
|QQQ||Invesco QQQ Trust Series 1||$305.26|
|GLD||SPDR Gold Trust||$183.49|
Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (VOO)
One of the higher-profile safe index funds to buy, Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF (NYSEARCA:VOO) seeks to track the performance of the S&P 500 index that measures the investment return of large-capitalization stocks, per its public profile. Since the start of the new year, VOO gained nearly 4% of market value. However, on a trailing-year basis, it has work to do, shedding more than 13%.
Fundamentally, Vanguard 500 should be attractive for investors because it targets the best that the U.S. has to offer. While I’m not a big fan of investing purely on aphorisms, I agree with the Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett. Notably, he stated once that “[f]or 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America.” Over time, VOO should make good for investors that acquire it.
Currently, the Vanguard 500 features the heaviest allocation toward the technology sector with a weighting of 23.74%. In second and third place are healthcare (15.32%) and financial services (13.75%). Finally, VOO’s expense ratio sits at 0.03%, well below the category average of 0.41%.
SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust (DIA)
Another top-tier name among safe index funds to buy, the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:DIA) seeks to provide investment results that, before expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Since the Jan. opener, DIA slipped nearly 3%, which reflects the Dow’s performance almost right on point. However, in the trailing year, the DIA slipped less than 8%, reflecting a superior performance to the S&P 500.
Fundamentally, the SPDR Dow Jones reflects another bet on America, just from a different angle. With the Dow covering only 30 companies, it features a distinct risk-reward profile compared to indices that cover hundreds or thousands of names. In some ways, it could work out better and in others, it might fall short of the target. Basically, it’s a different flavor. Regarding sector weighting, the DIA ETF features the heaviest allocation toward healthcare, with a 22.4% weighting. Coming in a close second is the financial services arena at 20.28%. Rounding out the top three is the industrials sector at 15.08%.
Lastly, the SPDR Dow Jones’ expense ratio sits at 0.16%. That’s conspicuously lower than the category average of 0.39%.
Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP)
According to U.S. News & World Report, the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLP) seeks to provide investment results that, before expenses, correspond generally to the price and yield performance of publicly traded equity securities of companies in the Consumer Staples Select Sector Index. Since the January opener, XLP slipped nearly 2%. However, in the trailing year, it’s down only about 3%.
Moving forward, XLP should rank among the more desirable safe index funds to buy. Primarily, with the banking sector fallout, consumers have greater incentive to divert discretionary spending toward critical goods and services. Indeed, the rise in demand for the global survival tools market indicates a behavioral shift materialized during the new normal. Therefore, XLP should be on your watch list.
Not surprisingly, the XLP ETF carries an overwhelming allocation toward the consumer defensive sector with a 98.57% weighting. The other morsel (1.43%) belongs to the healthcare segment. In closing, the expense ratio for the XLP fund is only 0.10%. This rates far lower than the category average of 0.44%.
iShares Russell 3000 ETF (IWV)
Another intriguing idea for safe index funds to buy is the iShares Russell 3000 ETF (NYSEARCA:IWV). According to U.S. News & World Report, the IWV seeks to track the investment results of the Russell 3000 index, which measures the performance of the broad U.S. equity market. Since the beginning of the year, IWV gained over 3% of market value. However, in the past 365 days, it’s down more than 14%.
Still, if you believe in the viability of American enterprises, IWV offers investors an opportunity for steady upside. While there’s always chatter on the internet about the U.S. losing its hegemonic influence, that’s unlikely to happen. Like it or not, the U.S. owns the world’s reserve currency. It also owns the most powerful military on the planet, which makes a competitor usurping the top-dog title improbable.
As with the Vanguard 500 Index Fund ETF, iShares Russell 3000 features the heaviest allocation toward the tech sector with a 22.87% weighting. That’s followed by healthcare (15.48%) and financial services (13.74%). Now, the IWV is a bit more expensive than other safe index funds with an expensive ratio of 0.20%. Nevertheless, it sits below the category average of 0.41%.
iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM)
Steering toward the riskier side of safe index funds to buy, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (NYSEARCA:IWM) attempts to track the investment results of the Russell 2000 index, which measures the performance of the small-cap sector of the U.S. equities market. Since the beginning of the year, IWM lost just under 1%, which initially appears enticing. However, in the trailing year, it’s down almost 17%.
Because the IWM focuses on small caps, the ability to swing higher – particularly during bullish cycles – should put smiles on stakeholders’ faces. At the same time, any downturns may disproportionately impact IWM. It really comes down to an investor’s personal risk tolerance balanced with the desire for more robust profitability.
In terms of allocation, the IWM leans heaviest toward the healthcare sector with a 16.79% weighting. Coming in a close second place is financial services at 15.58%. Rounding out the top three is industrials at 14.81%. Finally, the iShares Russell 2000 features an expense ratio of 0.19%. This figure sits below the category average of 0.36%.
Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ)
For investors that want to roll the dice with their safe index funds to buy, Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ:QQQ) offers an enticing opportunity. Per its public profile, the QQQ seeks investment results that generally correspond to the price and yield performance of the NASDAQ 100. Adding to the allure, since the January opener, QQQ gained almost 18% of market value. To be fair, it’s down nearly 15% in the trailing year.
Still, with the right catalysts, QQQ could spark substantial gains. True, the other side of the equation is that the tech-heavy ETF may underperform badly during deflationary cycles. However, societies will always invest resources to bolster various innovations. Therefore, it’s possible that even in a recession, the QQQ could rise over time. Plus, the broad canvas improves average performance stats.
Unsurprisingly, the Invesco QQQ Trust targets the tech sector with a weighting of nearly 48%. Coming in a very distant second is communications services at 15.64%, followed by consumer cyclical at 14.75%. Lastly, the QQQ features an expense ratio of 0.20%. In contrast, the category average is a lofty 0.54%.
SPDR Gold Trust (GLD)
To be 100% clear, the SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEARCA:GLD) truly takes liberties with the theme, safe index funds to buy. However, I include GLD – seeks to reflect the performance of the price of gold bullion, less the expenses of the Trust’s operations – for contextual reasons. As mentioned at the top, investors carry serious concerns about the banking sector fallout. Therefore, the GLD may offer a convenient hedge against market vagaries.
That’s a somewhat convoluted way of saying that the SPDR Gold Trust may rise on the fear trade. With both investors and depositors recognizing that bank runs in America can happen at any time, the non-dividend-paying gold market starts to look very attractive. Yes, gold is a “dumb” commodity. However, it also carries intrinsic value. Plus, it’s not going to disappear arbitrarily.
Sure enough, it’s holistically the best-performing asset within this list of safe index funds to buy. Since the start of the year, GLD gained over 7% of market value. And significantly, in the trailing year, it’s up almost 3%. To close, GLD features an expense ratio of 0.40%, which is more expensive than many other competing funds. However, it also sits below the category average of 0.66%.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.