Micro and Macro Investing Using ETFs

Most people wouldn’t think that investors could use Exchange Traded Funds to invest from both a macro standpoint and from a micro point of view, but due to the increasing number of ETFs now available to investors, this is possible.

First off, what is micro or macro investing?

Macro investing is when you take high-level data points and base your investment strategy on that information. A few examples of high-level data points would be gross domestic product, unemployment stats, US Home Sales stats, current interest rates, consumer confidence, business confidence, the purchasing manager's index, and so on. These data points highlight certain aspects of the economy from the ten-thousand-foot level. The macro picture will tell you how an economy is doing from a very general aspect.

The opposite side of that is micro investing or taking information from much smaller sample sizes and making investment decisions based on that information. A microdata point could be something as small as Apple’s (AAPL) revenue from their most recent earnings report or Amazon.com’s (AMZN) number of Prime Members subscribers. This very small, very direct and specific information will not tell you how the overall US economy is doing, but it would give you a better idea about how Apple or Amazon are faring as opposed to just knowing that the US GDP grew by 3.0% last quarter.

So how would you take macro investment data and put it to use with ETFs? Continue reading "Micro and Macro Investing Using ETFs"

Should You Own ETFs In A "Stock Pickers Market"

Most Wall Street participants believe 2019 will be a “stock pickers” year; So how will that affect Exchange Traded Fund investors?

Well first off, what is a “Stock Pickers” market or year? That is a market in which to make a decent return; investors will need to pick individual stocks, not just buy the market as a whole or an index such as the S&P 500 or Dow Jones. At this point, most Wall Street analysts believe the major market indexes will end the higher just slightly higher. In mid-February, Goldman Sachs analyst posted a note indicating they think the S&P 500 will only climb to 3,000 by the end of the year, but the next few months could be flat.

Vanguard went a little further and said it believes the market will only return roughly 5% median annualized return over the next 10 years. Vanguard’s opinion paints an even worse picture than Goldman’s and hints at the idea that investors will need to be “stock pickers” for the next decade if they want to see returns greater than 5% annualized.

So, the experts are telling us that investors need to cherry pick individual stocks if they want to make a real-return greater than a few percent over the next year or maybe more. But what if they don’t know how to find and pick market-beating stocks, they need not worry because that is why actively managed ETFs where created. Continue reading "Should You Own ETFs In A "Stock Pickers Market""

Best January In 32 Years! Is It A Sign Of How 2019 Plays Out?

After having the worst December in more than 87 years, the markets bounced back in January, gaining 7.9% in the month and the best January the market has experienced since 1987. This follows last January when the S&P 500 increased by 5.6%, which at the time was the best January the index had seen since 1997.

Historically when the market finishes January in the black, the market finishes higher for the year. Since 1928 when the market is up in January, it has finished the year higher 71% of the time. On a smaller timeframe say since 1950, when the market ends January higher, it has ended the year higher 85% of the time or 58 out of 68 times.

Now maybe your thinking to yourself that in 2018 the market was higher in January but ended the year in the red, down 6.2%. Well since 1980, we have not seen consecutive years in which the market end January higher, but finished the year in the red. Continue reading "Best January In 32 Years! Is It A Sign Of How 2019 Plays Out?"

Worst Performing ETFs Of 2018

After a down year like 2018 most investors want to just forget about what happened. But those investors who focus on understanding why their investments went south are the ones who will learn from their mistakes and hopefully avoid making them in the future. The start of a new year is a good time to review your investing thesis and try to pinpoint why some investments didn’t turn out the way you imagined they would.

With the S&P 500 (SPX) ending the year down 6.24%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) losing 5.63%, and the NASDAQ (COMP) dropping 3.88% in 2018, more than a handful of Exchange Traded Funds not only underperformed the major averages, but a few of them could have cost you nearly everything.

Let’s take a look at the top five worst performing ETFs of 2018 in a number of different categories the average investor had to choose from ion 2018 to see if you owned one or more of them.

The following table shows the performance of the worst five ETFs in 2018, as well as their performance over the last month, the last three months, the last five and ten years.

Worst Performing ETFs 2018

The following table shows the performance of the worst five Non-Leveraged ETFs in 2018, as well as their performance over the last month, the last three months, the last five and ten years. Continue reading "Worst Performing ETFs Of 2018"

Top Performing ETFs Of 2018

2018 was a wild year as we saw the markets rise to new all-time highs in the first half of the year only to crash during the last quarter of the year causing the major indexes to all close in the red for the year, for the first time in over a decade. But despite the S&P 500 (SPX) ending the year down 6.24%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) losing 5.63%, and the NASDAQ (COMP) dropping 3.88% in 2018, more than a handful of Exchange Traded Funds not only performed better than the major averages, but a lot of them put up some very impressive returns.

Let’s take a look at the top five best performing ETFs of 2018 in some different categories the average investor has to choose from.

The following table shows the performance of the top five best performing ETFs in 2018, as well as their performance over the last month, the last three months, the last five and ten years.

Top Performing ETFs 2018

The following table shows the performance of the top five Non-Leveraged ETFs in 2018, as well as their performance over the last month, the last three months, the last five and ten years. Continue reading "Top Performing ETFs Of 2018"