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A Timely New ETF

Timing when a particular investment factor will be in style and when it will fall out of favor isn't an easy task. Making the task even harder is that, by some estimates, the low volatility and momentum factors are increasingly correlated with each other.

The PowerShares DWA Momentum & Low Volatility Rotation Portfolio (NASDAQ: DWLV), which debuted last month, is a solution for investors looking for simultaneous exposure to the low volatility and momentum factors. DWLV tracks the he Dorsey Wright Multi-Factor Global Equity Index.

That index “is designed to gain exposure to US or international equity markets through the universe of up to eight PowerShares momentum or low volatility ETFs, and may also hold up to 100 percent cash position (via 1- to 6-month US Treasury Bills) when equity securities as a whole are out of favor. The Fund and the Index are evaluated monthly for potential rebalance and reconstitution,” according to PowerShares.

DWLV, which currently holds four PowerShares low volatility and momentum ETFs along T-bills, has some other nifty features.

“The ability to rotate between momentum, low volatility and cash provides investors the potential for equity exposure and risk mitigation. Dorsey Wright’s proven relative strength methodology uses the forces of supply and demand to determine exposure and may help overcome or balance some of the uncertainties found in fundamental analysis,” said PowerShares in a recent note.

Not surprisingly, DWLV's current tilt is toward low volatility as the PowerShares S&P SmallCap Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSE: XSLV) and the PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSE: SPLV) combine for 49 percent of the new ETF's weight.

DWLV's momentum exposure is achieved via a combined allocation of 21.3 percent to the PowerShares DWA SmallCap Momentum Portfolio (NASDAQ: DWAS) and the PowerShares DWA Momentum Portfolio (NYSE: PDP).

The low volatility factor could remain an investor favorite amid election year jitters and slowing economic growth.

“In the US, decelerating economic growth is showing signs of abating and a trough may finally be forming. Industrial production growth reached a high of 3.9% on a year-over-year basis in July 2014, before falling to a low of -2.3% in December 2014. This decelerating industrial growth was driven in part by a drop in commodity prices, the strength of the US dollar and inventory imbalances,” adds PowerShares.

DWLV has accumulated $12.8 million in assets since its July 15 debut.

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