Exchange Traded Funds

ETF InvestingManaged ETF portfolios are all the rage among money managers. The problem for individual investors is that the fees layer up quickly. A financial advisor might charge about 1% to recommend money managers to clients. The money managers often charge another 1%. The combined 2% in "service" fees is a HUGE barrier to overcome. Most people can manage an ETF portfolio very efficiently without having to overcome the layers of fees within the financial industry.

The Fundamental Trends Global Trends ETF portfolio is designed to be a slowly traded strategy that takes advantage of the big trends in the global economy. By managing risk with periodic trades out of downtrending asset classes and into uptrending asset classes we can greatly reduce our risk and increase reward. The combination of low expenses at Fundamental Trends, understanding the big trends in the global economy and stepping out of the way of falling markets is a winning combination. 

I screen ETFs based upon several key criteria: expenses, valuation, internal holdings, methodology of the index an ETF is tracking and long-term growth outlook. In this way I am considering both the top down and bottom up prospects for an ETF. Very few do either side of this analysis, rather others simply buy hot sectors and asset classes only to get burned in short order. By comparing the internal workings of ETFs we can pick out the best ones in the expanding universe of funds.

ETF strategies are ideal for both smaller beginning investors and those managing a larger asset allocation.

This column should be read after: Two Weeks Until Oil Begins Rally To $80

It is very rare that I use levered ETFs. The opportunity has to be striking. In most cases I greatly prefer options to levered ETFs due to the expenses related to levered ETFs and other structural issues.

Right now however, there is a compelling argument to use a levered oil fund.

As you know, I believe President Trump is going to end the Iran nuclear deal. That in conjunction with supply constraints on oil and the summer driving season are a lining up the perfect storm for oil prices to rip higher to about $80 per barrel. See this article for some of the technicals:

Oil's Technical Path To $80 Per Barrel

Energy has been a top performer for decades. Over the past few years it has seen a volatile road crashing from highs. Recently oil and gas rallied into late autumn, however, there has been a recent correction. This correction is another, maybe the last, excellent opportunity to buy into the "Last Great Secular Oil Bull Market" in my opinion. 

This stock market is moving very fast right now. As I discussed a few days ago in "This Correction Could Have Another Leg Down:" 

The surge in volatility might be more than just an isolated event, it could be a harbinger of what might come next.

Well, what is coming next appears to be an actual real live bear market. We can't be certain of course, but if Friday ends with the S&P 500 below $253 on both the daily and weekly chart, well, that's a recipe for a full on search for strong support. As I show in one of the charts below, strong support is quite a bit lower. 

I was near Albany, NY when the flash crash of August 24, 2015 hit. I was on my way out to a retreat with friends in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The stock market was down 5.3% the first few days after the open that day. 

Buying stocks quickly that day worked for me as I had put 10 good til cancel limit orders in before I left for vacation the day before because the market had already become jittery. All ten trades hit as over 765 stocks in the Russell 3000 were down more than 10%. I got stocks like Google (GOOG), Lockheed Martin (LMT) and Intel (INTC). 

There is certainly a strong argument for keeping open limit orders on our favorite stocks in case of such corrections. However, buying a few ETFs is probably the easiest thing to do on a correlated correction. We can always sell off pieces of the ETFs and replace with stocks when we are ready.

Here are some ETFs I have open good til'cancel limit orders in for, the reasons why and the price levels I've set. Remember, I'm 25% in cash because of the overvaluation of the markets.

In an age where valuations are high, we are carrying some cash, flash crashes are not terribly uncommon and the next flash crash could be a doozy, I thought it made sense to talk about QQQ again.

The PowerShares QQQ ETF (QQQ) is the vehicle I use to build a core asset allocation to a group of market leaders and also what I use for a quick buy if the market tanks while I'm not looking.

QQQ is my GTC limit buy order. It is the fund that I said is The Only ETF You Need To Start Investing.