Even today's bounce, probably of the dead cat variety, the
SPDR S&P 500 (NYSE:
) is down more than 4% in the past month. The broader market
tracking fund also is still lower by more than 5% since the start
That is much is widely known and it's also widely known that
not just U.S. equities that have been under
. Indeed, it feels as if almost every asset class under the sun
is being swept up in the broader market's calamity these
Fortunately, investors looking for some conservative,
shelter-from-the-storm ETFs are not short for options. Just look
at this quartet that has handily outperformed the S&P 500
over the past month.
PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (NYSE:
When the PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio debuted in March 2011,
there were probably a few critics that quietly said to themselves
"Huh, an ETF devoted to institutional leveraged loans? Yeah,
right. That concept won't catch on." Well, BKLN has proven the
naysayers wrong, quietly ascending north of the $500 million in
assets under management watermark. In fact, BKLN now has $561
million in AUM.
bullish on the ETF heading into 2012
and that view has been rewarded with a decent gain of almost 4%.
In the past month, BKLN has lost a quarter of a percent, but
that's still far better than what the S&P 500 has offered.
Plus, BKLN currently yields 5.2% and pays a monthly dividend.
iShares Industrials Sector Bond Fund (NYSE:
On Valentine's Day, iShares showed conservative investors some
love by rolling out a broad suite of sector-specific corporate
bond funds. The iShares Industrials Sector Bond Fund was included
among that group. With a distribution yield of almost 2.9%, ENGN
is home to 81 issues that are largely investment grade. Investors
should note that under ENGN's industrials umbrella fall retail,
software, food and beverage and media companies in addition to
traditional industrial firms such as Caterpillar (NYSE:
). ENGN has clawed its way to a small gain over the past
iShares Utilities Sector Bond Fund (NYSE:
The iShares Utilities Sector Bond Fund is the utilities
equivalent of the aforementioned ENGN, though this fund isn't
100% concentrated to traditional utilities. Top-10 holdings
include issues from major MLPs such as Enterprise Products (NYSE:
) and Kinder Morgan (NYSE:
). As is the case with ENGN, AMPS pays a monthly dividend and
both funds charge a reasonable 0.3%. AMPS has also fought its way
to a small gain over the past month as investors have embraced
bonds over equities.
Focus Morningstar Communications ETF (NYSE:
Speaking of sectors that are favored destinations when markets
turn ugly, telecom is near the top of the list. With that, the
Focus Morningstar Communications ETF is worthy of a place in the
telecom ETF conversation. Unheralded and thinly traded, FUI has
the same expense ratio, 0.19%, as the Vanguard Telecommunications
Services ETF (NYSE:
), but FUI has outperformed the Vanguard offering in the past
month and sports a higher dividend yield.
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