It is the first day of 2016, and I want to first start out by offering you best wishes for a happy, healthy and wealthy new year.
As we jump out of the 2016 starting gate, the global economy, as well as financial markets, face several big headwinds. The good news is that these headwinds are pretty easy to identify. The bad news is that they need to die down markedly if we are going to see a material improvement in the world‚??s economy, and in both international and domestic equities.
Let‚??s take a quick look at what I think are the four most important exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to watch in 2016, as each will give us a sense as to whether these key sectors are improving.
First, the commodity plunge of 2015 needs to bottom out and move higher if we are to see an improvement in global growth. The benchmark ETF to watch here is the DB Commodities Tracking Index Fund (DBC).
The energy-sector-dominant DBC has been slammed this year because of plunging oil prices, but a decline in copper due to economic slowdowns in emerging markets and China, plus a drop in gold prices resulting from strength in the U.S. dollar, also have contributed to the horrendous year in the commodity space.
That leads us to the declines in emerging markets and Chinese stocks as represented here by the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) and the¬†iShares FTSE China 25 Index (FXI).
As you can see by the charts of both EEM and FXI, it has been a horrible year for each respective segment. If economies in the emerging markets and China can stabilize, that would be a huge plus for the global economy. It also would help drive up oil and copper prices, which in turn would give DBC some escape velocity from its current doldrums.
Finally, the action in the U.S. markets in 2016 will be heavily influenced by events in the global economy. It is an interconnected world, so if we see commodity prices stabilize along with emerging markets and China, that combination almost certainly will help stocks here at home.
The best way to monitor the action in U.S. markets is via the benchmark SPDR¬†S&P 500 ETF (SPY). This is the fund pegged to its namesake index, and it‚??s about the best way to assess what‚??s taking place in the domestic equity market.
In 2015, SPY basically was flat. The question now is: will it be flat in 2016? The answer could be contained in the aforementioned commodity, emerging markets and China sectors, and that‚??s why their respective ETFs, along with SPY, are so vital to monitor in 2016.
Of course, these indicators will tell us the big picture of what‚??s likely to happen in the global economy and international and domestic stocks on a broad basis. Yet, when it comes to investing, broad isn‚??t necessarily the best route.
As we enter 2016, subscribers to my¬†Successful ETF Investing¬†newsletter are already profiting from targeted investments in sector-specific ETFs outpacing the broad market.
In fact, we are about to add another market-beating sector to our portfolio, which will be featured in our next monthly issue. If you‚??d like to start enhancing your returns in 2016, then I invite you to check out my service today ‚?? and just in time for the latest portfolio addition.
ETF Talk: Diversified Income Fund Provides Range of High-Yield Picks
The next fund to be discussed in our series featuring good exchange-traded fund (ETF) investments for income and dividend seekers is the PowerShares CEF Income Composite Portfolio (PCEF), a ‚??fund of funds‚?Ě that holds other exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in a carefully balanced arrangement.
The funds in which PCEF invests include those focused on taxable investment-grade fixed-income securities, high-yield fixed income and option-writing funds, among others.
These funds are combined into PCEF, which serves as an income-generating machine. It also is a diversified fund due to its wide array of holdings. Regular bond funds are the greatest portion of the PCEF pie, with high-yield bonds and option-based income taking up about 30% each.
This fund did not perform well during 2015, as its share price fell 9.79%. However, it also has paid out about 9% in dividends during that time, so its net loss was minimized due to its income stream. If the fund can stabilize and have a better year in 2016, that 9% dividend yield will start to look very attractive indeed. It also currently is trading at a greater discount to net asset value than its annual average indicates. The expense ratio for this fund is currently at 1.88% due to acquired fund fees. And its assets under management total $616 million.
This ETF diversifies its holdings among quite a few funds, with none comprising more than 4% of its assets. Some of its largest holdings are PIMCO Dynamic Credit Income Fund (PCI), 3.77%; Eaton Vance Tax-Managed Global Diversified Equity Income Fund (EXG), 2.72%; DoubleLine Income Solutions Fund (DSL), 2.41%; Eaton Vance Limited Duration Income Fund (EVV), 2.28%; and BlackRock Enhanced Equity Dividend Trust (BTZ), 2.24%.
If this ‚??fund of funds,‚?Ě which is based on the S-Network Composite Closed-End Fund Index, sounds like a well-rounded investment to you, PowerShares CEF Income Composite Portfolio (PCEF) may be worth considering if you expect its performance to improve in 2016.
If you want my advice about buying and selling specific ETFs, including appropriate exit points, please consider subscribing to my¬†Successful ETF Investing¬†newsletter.
As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to¬†send me an e-mail. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.
Give Yourself These Holiday Presents
Although Christmas was a week ago, it‚??s still not too late to give yourself a few holiday presents. And, the presents I‚??m referring to are the types that truly keep on giving, and they are the presents of financial preparedness in 2016.
These presents are the best kind because they A) don‚??t cost you any money, and B) they each represent tools in your investment arsenal that you can use for years and years to come.
Here are three great holiday presents you can give yourself right now.
1) Cultivate a positive and winning attitude.
By far the biggest present you can give yourself and your friends and family this year is to approach all aspects of your life with a positive attitude.
While this may sound simple, it‚??s far from easy, especially when it comes to your approach to investing. What you must remember is that there will be ups and downs in markets, bullish periods and bearish periods for stocks and bullish and bearish periods for different market sectors and various asset classes.
Yet, thanks to the tremendous growth of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) over the past several years, it‚??s easy to get invested in the segments and asset classes that are outpacing their peers. Having a positive and winning attitude means you are willing to accept the opportunities the market gives you and that you are willing to embrace those opportunities via targeted ETFs.
In 2016, that‚??s what subscribers to my Successful ETF Investing newsletter will be doing. So if you want to see how we go about employing a positive and winning attitude in this service, I invite you to get on board today.
2) Conduct an asset inventory roundup.
The second present you can give yourself this holiday season is to do a little financial summary of all of your assets, accounts and financial relationships. This means knowing what assets you own (real estate, stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds, 401(k), IRAs, pension plans, etc.) and, especially, where those assets are held.
This may sound like basic information, but you would be very surprised at how many people I speak with who aren‚??t really sure about where their money is, how it is invested and especially how it should be invested to meet their needs.
This present to yourself requires a little bit of time, but I guarantee that will be time well spent — as knowing where your money is and how it is invested is the first necessary step toward allowing yourself the third holiday present on your Christmas list.
3) Make your life easier by consolidating your accounts.
Your asset inventory roundup will let you know how many different accounts you have and in how many different financial institutions your money is located. Once you do this, you‚??ll need to start giving yourself the present of making your life easier by consolidating your assets into one or two financial relationships.
That means rolling over any former-employer 401(k) accounts into individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or getting out of an old mutual fund company in favor of a discount broker such as Fidelity or Schwab. There is absolutely no good reason to have four, five or more different account statements, several different brokers or multiple IRAs or multiple mutual funds at a variety of companies.
Consolidating your investment accounts into one or, at most, two companies will simplify your life immensely. It also will allow you to make smart changes to your holdings that will enhance your chances of success in 2016.
So, do yourself a favor this Christmas and start giving yourself these three holiday presents. Doing so will be like having Santa coming in for a visit on a regular basis.
The Best ETF Ideas for 2016
Over the past several weeks, we‚??ve covered what I think are the five best ETF ideas for 2016 for both growth investors, and income investors.
Here‚??s a quick review of all 10 ETFs on our list.
1) Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLV). Health care is an industry that continues benefitting from demographics, innovation, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals and insurance mandates. XLV is the ETF that holds the biggest and best health care stocks around.
2) First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF (FV). This is a ‚??fund of funds‚?Ě that simultaneously holds other funds that have allocations to top-performing sectors. Biotech, Internet, consumer staples, consumer discretionary and health care all are part of this fund.
3) PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (HACK). This is the cyber security stock ETF, one that we‚??ve written about extensively in this publication, and in the Successful ETF Investing newsletter. We also recently conducted a FREE webinar on HACK, which I encourage you to check out before you start making investment decisions in 2016.
4) iShares India 50 ETF (INDY). India is a country that has a pro-capitalist political climate, a huge amount of human capital and citizens hungry for economic growth and an enhanced living standard. INDY is a way to get exposure to the companies benefitting the most from these trends.
5) WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ). Japan continues to put the pedal to the metal on ‚??Abenomics,‚?Ě which means more quantitative easing from the Bank of Japan, and likely more upside for Japanese stocks. And, with DXJ‚??s hedge component you get that performance without the negative influence of any currency disparities.
1) SPDR DoubleLine Total Return Tactical ETF (TOTL). This bond fund is actively managed by the ‚??New Bond King,‚?Ě Jeffrey Gundlach, of DoubleLine Capital, and it takes advantage of the best bonds in the market. The fund invests across global fixed-income sectors, and with an eye toward shorter-duration bonds.
2) iShares US Preferred Stock (PFF). This fund gives you exposure to the best preferred stocks in the market. These hybrid securities are sort of like stocks, and sort of like bonds, as they tend to move higher with the equity markets while also delivering strong yields.
3) PowerShares CEF Income Composite ETF (PCEF). This ETF ‚??fund of funds‚?Ě gives you exposure to the closed-end fund market, a market that‚??s consistently delivered outstanding yields for income-oriented investors.
4) iShares US Real Estate ETF (IYR). Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, are a fantastic tool for generating yield, and in this fund of funds you get broad-based exposure to the best REITs operating in the market today.
5) iShares Select Dividend ETF (DVY). This is the best ETF for exposure to the biggest and arguably the best dividend-paying stocks in the market today. DVY gives you a very solid yield along with the upside potential of the broader equity markets.
If you want more ideas, including which funds we‚??re buying right now, then I invite you to check out my Successful ETF Investing newsletter today!
The Powell Doctrine
‚??Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.‚?Ě
–Gen. Colin Powell
As we enter 2016, I think it‚??s important to be optimistic about stocks, the economy and being successful in the year to come. In fact, being optimistic on a regular basis can be infectious, or as Gen. Colin Powell says, it can be a ‚??force multiplier‚?Ě when it comes to accomplishing important goals.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you‚??d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Ask Doug.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week about the best investment presents to give yourself. I also invite you to comment in the space provided below my Eagle Daily Investor commentary.
All the best,