Rising rate, overvaluation and trade war concerns throughout the year have finally led the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones into the red.The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones have lost about 0.5% and 0.3% this year (as of Nov 27, 2018). TheNasdaq Composite have gained about 1.1% this year (as of Nov 27, 2018).
Several analysts including Goldman Sachs are not very bullish on the markets for 2019. Goldman expects the S&P 500 to rise only 5% to 3,000 by 2019-end. It will likely be a critical year for the U.S. markets with fading benefits from fiscal stimulus, increasing tightening in monetary policies and rising protectionism.
Though Goldman sees the continuation of bull market in 2019 (but will be choppier), BNY Mellon believes that the bull market is 'in trouble' and investors have to brace for more selling pressure.
Michael Wilson of Morgan Stanley noted that a "buy-the dip" strategy hasn't been working out this year. And such things occurred before only "during bear markets, or the beginning of one," Wilson wrote. In 2018, the S&P 500 has recorded slight falloffs on average when the prior weekly return was negative, according to Morgan Stanley. That hasn't been seen since 2002 (read: Are We Headed Toward Bear Market? ETFs to Save Your Portfolio ).
Jeffrey Gundlach of DoubleLine Capital advised investors to focus on capital preservation and stay away from corporate bonds and Treasuries, though he believes " stocks have further to go " given low levels of volatility.
Against this backdrop, investors could opt for the below-mentioned ETF strategies, if they are intending to follow Goldman Sachs' strategies.
Is Cash the Best Bet?
Goldman suggests investors load cash in their portfolios. Investors park their money in ultra-short duration cash-like ETFs. AXA Investment Managers recently commented that " cash is now a genuine asset class ."
Real returns of cash alternatives are improving. Yield on short-term Treasury bills outdoes U.S. inflation, meaning investors can now have real, inflation-adjusted return from cash for the first time in a decade , per Financial Times.
Investors should note that yield on two-month treasury note stood at 2.37% on Nov 27, up from 2.28% seen at the start of the month. Meanwhile, yields on 10-year Treasury note dropped 8-bps to 3.06% on Nov 27 from what we saw on Nov 1.
Funds like SPDR SSgA Ultra Short-Term Bond ETF (ULST) , iShares Ultra Short-Term Bond ETFICSH and PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active Exchange-Traded FundMINT can be followed in this regard.
Bet on Utility
Since safety remains the keyword amid stock market crashes, safe and non-cyclical sectors like utility should hold their heads high. Goldman upgraded the utility sector to overweight.
The bank appreciates the sector's " track record of notable outperformance during decelerating GDP growth environments and a low historical beta to S&P 500." So, ETFs like Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETFXLU , iShares US Utilities ETFIDU and Vanguard Utilities ETFVPU could be on investors' radar (read: Nervous Investors Pile Into Low Volatility, Defensive ETFs ).
Quality Should Pay Off
Quality stocks and ETFs sometimes offer stabilization in one's portfolio. Goldman's suggestion is to play stocks like Dollar TreeDLTR , PepsiCoPEP and BlackRockBLK . Alternatively, investors can take a look at quality ETFs like iShares Edge MSCI USA Quality Factor ETFQUAL and wide moat ETFs like VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETFMOAT and ELEMENTS Morningstar WideMoat Focus Total return ETN (WMW) ( read: Invest Like Warren Buffett With These Stocks & ETF ).
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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free reportPepsico, Inc. (PEP): Free Stock Analysis ReportBlackRock, Inc. (BLK): Free Stock Analysis ReportPIMCO-E SMETF (MINT): ETF Research ReportsSPDR-UTIL SELS (XLU): ETF Research ReportsISHARS-LIQD INC (ICSH): ETF Research ReportsISHARS-US UTIL (IDU): ETF Research ReportsVIPERS-UTIL (VPU): ETF Research ReportsVANECK-MS WD MT (MOAT): ETF Research ReportsDollar Tree, Inc. (DLTR): Free Stock Analysis ReportISHARS-MS US QF (QUAL): ETF Research ReportsELEMT-LK MORN (WMW): ETF Research ReportsSPDR-SSGA US TB (ULST): ETF Research ReportsTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment ResearchWant the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report