NYSEArca - NYSEArca Delayed Price. Currency in USD
-0.44 (-0.99%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
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Previous Close44.59
Bid44.01 x 1400
Ask44.10 x 1400
Day's Range44.06 - 44.57
52 Week Range34.92 - 51.19
Avg. Volume3,227,708
Net Assets2.08B
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
YTD Return18.78%
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.34
Expense Ratio (net)0.35%
Inception Date2005-11-08
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • Commercial Banks Stuck at Resistance Ahead of Earnings
    Investopedia16 days ago

    Commercial Banks Stuck at Resistance Ahead of Earnings

    Commercial bank stocks have failed to mount long-term resistance ahead of next week's earnings kick-off.

  • ETF Trends17 days ago

    Bank ETFs Show Some Fortitude

    Exchange traded funds focusing on bank stocks, including the bellwether SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEArca: KBE), have endured eventful several weeks. KBE and rival bank ETFs tumbled in mind-March, but over the ...

  • Banks brace for rocky returns as March proves bruising, analysts say
    MarketWatch25 days ago

    Banks brace for rocky returns as March proves bruising, analysts say

    Mortgage origination is up, but not enough to offset pressure from a flattening, or even inverted, yield curve, analysts say.

  • Fear an Inverted Yield Curve? Short Financial Stocks With ETFs
    Zacks27 days ago

    Fear an Inverted Yield Curve? Short Financial Stocks With ETFs

    Are you spooked by an inverted yield curve? Play these inverse financial ETFs and tide over the widespread financial stock sell-off.

  • Bank Stocks Slide on Inverted Yield Curve, Economic Slowdown
    Zacks27 days ago

    Bank Stocks Slide on Inverted Yield Curve, Economic Slowdown

    Bank stocks perform dismally as a number of issues including an inverted yield curve on increasing fears of economic slowdown and the Federal Reserve's dovish monetary policy shake the markets.

  • ETF Trendslast month

    Bank ETFs Among Worst Off Following Fed’s Dovish Stance

    Financial stocks and bank sector-related exchange traded funds were among the worst off Wednesday after the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell downgraded its expectations for U.S. economic growth and ...

  • ETF Trendslast month

    Bank ETF Stirs Ahead of Fed Meeting

    The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEArca: KBE) is higher by more than 20% this year, but ahead of today’s Federal Reserve meeting, the ETF had not gotten much attention from investors in a couple of months. “The ...

  • Why it's a bullish backdrop for big bank stocks
    Yahoo Financelast month

    Why it's a bullish backdrop for big bank stocks

    Shares of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and other big banks are on fire. Here are several surprising reasons why.

  • 7 Financial ETFs to Buy
    InvestorPlacelast month

    7 Financial ETFs to Buy

    After being an epic disappointment in 2018, the financial services sector and the related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are rebounding in 2019. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEARCA:XLF), the largest financial ETF, is up an admirable 12.8% year-to-date, thought that trails the S&P 500 by 70 basis points.While several sectors are outperforming financials this year, there are some financial ETFs offering impressive returns, making them solid alternatives to traditional funds like XLF. And there are other catalysts that could further benefit financial ETFs -- including expectations that short-term interest rates will decline and the sector's status as a value play."Trading at an eye-popping 55% discount relative to the broader market based on price-to-earnings multiples, it potentially offers compelling value to investors willing to accept the risk of investing in the sector," according to State Street. "According to FactSet, fourth quarter earnings per share (EPS) growth for financials will be more than 10%, roughly in line with the market EPS growth rate."InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 7 Small-Cap Stocks That Make the Grade For investors looking to get involved with the third-largest sector in the S&P 500, here are some financial ETFs to consider. Financial ETFs: SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE)Expense Ratio: 0.35% per year, or $35 on a $10,000 investment.The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEARCA:KBE) is one of the best financial ETFs for investors looking to focus on bank stocks. A year-to-date gain of 19% proves as much. KBE follows the S&P Banks Select Industry Index and holds 85 stocks, which are equally weighted in the fund.This financial ETF "seeks to provide exposure to the bank segment of the S&P TMI, which comprises the following sub-industries: asset management & custody banks, diversified banks, regional banks, other diversified financial services and thrifts & mortgage finance sub-industries," according to State Street.While this financial ETF is not a dedicated regional bank fund, it is close, since regional bank equities represent nearly 80% of the KBE's weight. Regional banks were major disappointments last year as the group, usually known for being positively correlated to rising interest rates, slumped as rates rose. Yield curve normalization and increased industry consolidation are among the factors that could boost regional banks this year. Invesco S&P SmallCap Financials ETF (PSCF)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.29%Recently, there have been some signs of weakness in small caps, prompting investors to stick with large-cap stocks and ETFs. However, the Invesco S&P SmallCap Financials ETF (NASDAQ:PSCF) has held up relatively well and is sporting a year-to-date gain of 11.3%.PSCF, the small-cap answer to the aforementioned XLF, holds 138 stocks with an average market value of $1.75 billion, putting this financial ETF at the higher end of small-cap territory. Banks and real estate investment trusts (REITs) represent nearly two-thirds of this financial ETF's roster. * 15 Stocks That May Be Hurt by This Year's Big IPOs PSCF reflects the value proposition offered by the financial services sector, as over 39% of the fund's holdings are classified as value stocks compared with just 12.5% designated as growth stocks. Fidelity MSCI Financials Index ETF (FNCL)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.084%For cost-conscious investors looking for good deals, the Fidelity MSCI Financials Index ETF (NYSEARCA:FNCL) is the way to go. A traditional financial ETF that is similar to the aforementioned XLF, FNCL is the least-expensive financial ETF on the market today. Fidelity clients can trade FNCL commission-free, adding to the fund's cost efficiencies.With FNCL, investors are making bets on the largest domestic money center banks, investment banks and insurance companies. FNCL's top 10 holdings combine for over 43% of the fund's weight.Remember this: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK-B), itself one of the largest holdings in FNCL, recent boosted its stakes in a slew of large U.S. banks, including several that are among the top holdings in this Fidelity financial ETF. Invesco KBW High Dividend Yield Financial ETF (KBWD)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 2.42%Investors looking for a high-yield financial ETF may want to consider the Invesco KBW High Dividend Yield Financial ETF (NASDAQ:KBWD). Yes, this fund fits the bill as high-yield as highlighted by a 12-month distribution rate of 8.1%, but the rub is KBWD's whopper of an expense ratio of 2.42%.KBWD is not a traditional financial ETF in that it is not a large-cap fund, nor is it heavily allocated to shares of standard banking stocks. Rather, this financials fund's high yield is derived via significant exposure to mortgage REITs, some asset managers and some insurance companies. * 7 Winning High-Yield Dividend Stocks With Payouts Over 5% With a price-to-earnings ratio of just under 9, KBWD is a value play and essentially all of its 40 holdings are classified as mid- and small-cap value stocks. Oppenheimer Financials Sector Revenue ETF (RWW)Expense Ratio: 0.45%Most financial ETFs are cap-weighted funds, but the Oppenheimer Financials Sector Revenue ETF (NYSEARCA:RWW) takes a different approach to financials by weighting its holdings by revenue. "Revenue weighting offers diversified equity market exposure but, by weighting companies based on their revenue, rather than their stock price, it increases the strategy's exposure to attractively valued stocks compared to a market-cap-weighted index," according to Oppenheimer.Due to the revenue weighting methodology in this financial ETF, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is 15.1% of RWW's weight while no other stock accounts for over 7.8% of the fund's roster. RWW is up around 13% this year. ProShares Global Listed Private Equity ETF (PEX)Expense Ratio: 2.78%For investors willing to deal with the high fee, the ProShares Global Listed Private Equity ETF (CBOE:PEX) is an interesting avenue for exposure to the universe of listed private equity companies. This financial ETF tracks the LPX Direct Listed Private Equity Index and has a 12-month dividend yield of nearly 4.2%.Listed private equity (LPE) employs a business model that is similar to the traditional private equity model, but rather than relying on institutions and wealthy individual investors, LPE taps public markets for capital, providing investors with accessibility and daily liquidity via a publicly traded instrument. Translation: LPE companies are public companies investing in portfolios of private firms. * 15 Stocks Sitting on Huge Piles of Cash There are some issues to consider with PEX, including that high fee. While investing in private equity companies may sound compelling to everyday investors, particularly because private equity investments are off limits to all but institutional and ultra-high-net-worth investors, PEX has to outperform traditional financial ETFs by wide margins to justify its high fee … and that is not happening this year. Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Financials ETF (RYF)Source: Shutterstock Expense Ratio: 0.4%There are different ways to skin the financials ETF cat, and that includes an equal-weight idea via the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Financials ETF (NYSEARCA:RYF). Home to 68 stocks, this financial ETF is a solid idea for investors looking to avoid large weights to the biggest U.S. banks and Berkshire Hathaway.Even with RYF being an equal-weight fund, a strategy that often tilts toward small-cap stocks, this fund's holdings have an average market value north of $45 billion. None of RYF's holdings are classified as small caps, but that is not diminishing the fund's performance this year as this financial ETF is up 15.4%. That indicates equal weighting works at the sector level.Many equal-weight ETFs have a value tilt, and with this being a financial ETF, RYF does have significant value exposure. Value stocks represent nearly 60% of the fund's weight.As of this writing, Todd Shriber owned shares of XLF. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 5 of the Best Stocks to Buy Under $10 * 7 Single-Digit P/E Stocks With Massive Upside * 7 Best Quantum Computing Stocks Trading Today Compare Brokers The post 7 Financial ETFs to Buy appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • MarketWatch2 months ago

    Fed approves Fifth Third Bancorp's deal to buy MB Financial

    The Federal Reserve on Wednesday approved Fifth Third Bancorp's purchase of Chicago-based MB Financial . Fifth Third agreed to buy the bank for $4.7 billion, mostly in stock. When the deal is completed, Fifth Third will become the 21st largest insured depository institution in the United States, the Fed said.

  • Wall Street's Best Start Since 1987: Top ETFs of Top Sectors
    Zacks2 months ago

    Wall Street's Best Start Since 1987: Top ETFs of Top Sectors

    These sector ETFs benefited the most from Wall Street's best start to a year since 1987.

  • Invest Like Warren Buffet With These Bank ETFs
    Zacks2 months ago

    Invest Like Warren Buffet With These Bank ETFs

    Investors seeking to emulate Buffett's investing style should look at bank ETFs.

  • ETF Trends2 months ago

    Bank ETFs Climb on Buffett’s Berkshire Bet on Financials

    Bank stocks and sector-related exchange traded funds were leading the markets higher after recent filings revealed Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. jumped in on the falling bank stocks to increase his bets on financials, hinting at the possibility of further merger and acquisition activity in the space. Among the top performing non-leveraged ETFs on Friday, the Invesco KBW Bank ETF (KBWB) increased 2.3%, First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (QABA) advanced 2.0% and SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) gained 2.1%. Meanwhile, the broader Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) was 1.8% higher.

  • Natural Gas and Bank: 2 ETFs to Watch on Outsized Volume
    Zacks2 months ago

    Natural Gas and Bank: 2 ETFs to Watch on Outsized Volume

    FCG and KBE saw massive trading volumes in yesterday's trading session.

  • BB&T to Buy SunTrust in Decade's Biggest Deal: ETFs to Tap
    Zacks2 months ago

    BB&T to Buy SunTrust in Decade's Biggest Deal: ETFs to Tap

    The biggest bank deal in a decades has put the spotlight on ETFs that could be the best ways for investors to tap the opportunity arising from BB&T and SunTrust merger.

  • 4 Market-Beating Sector ETFs of January
    Zacks3 months ago

    4 Market-Beating Sector ETFs of January

    While the gains were broad-based, we have highlighted four sectors ETFs that have outperformed the market in January and could be better plays in the months ahead .

  • Best ETF Ideas for 2019
    Zacks3 months ago

    Best ETF Ideas for 2019

    How should investors position their portfolio for 2019? Here are some ideas.

  • Benzinga3 months ago

    What's Behind The Bank ETF's Rally?

    Financial services, one of 2018's worst-performing sectors, is looking to shed that laggard status this year. The group is off to a good start, as highlighted by the Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLF), which is up 9.15 percent year-to-date. Bank stocks — often biggest percentages of broad financial funds like XLF — are leading the way.

  • Should You Buy Bank ETFs After Q4 Earnings?
    Zacks3 months ago

    Should You Buy Bank ETFs After Q4 Earnings?

    Bank ETFs have rallied this year, after better-than-expected earnings. Here???s what investors need to know.

  • ETF Trends3 months ago

    Is it Finally Time to Bank on Bank ETFs?

    As was widely reported, bank stocks and the corresponding exchange traded funds turned in dismal performances in 2018. The equal-weight KBE “seeks to provide exposure to the bank segment of the S&P TMI, which comprises the following sub-industries: asset management & custody banks, diversified banks, regional banks, other diversified financial services and thrifts & mortgage finance sub-industries,” according to State Street. “Even as the yield curve flattened in 2018, bank net interest margins continue to expand, as shown below,” said State Street in a recent note.

  • ETF Trends3 months ago

    10 Bank ETFs Investors Can Bank On

    The financial sector and bank ETFs may continue to gain momentum as the better-than-expected fourth quarter results and improving outlook help lift sentiment on this cheap segment of the market. Goldman ...

  • InvestorPlace3 months ago

    The 10 Best Index Funds to Buy and Hold

    [Editor's note: This story was originally published in December 2016 and has since been updated and republished. Please note that the author's views may have changed since the previous publication.] Index funds are responsible for saving investors like you and me untold billions of dollars in fees over the past couple decades. They've also spared us countless headaches. (I don't know about you, but I'm glad I don't have to pick specific stocks to get exposure to utilities or play the growth in India's middle class.) And the best index funds … well, they've made us a lot of money, which is the point of it all. But index funds are also contributing to an issue that could blow up in our faces. InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips The push into index funds has intensified to the point that some experts believe it's not only driving the market higher, but it's causing a valuation bubble. In short, if you buy into any fund (index or not), the fund must invest that money into more stocks -- and all that buying is distorting valuations. The danger, then, is that when that bubble pops, many supposedly safe index funds will feel the pain worse than other parts of the market. The lesson here is that the best index funds to buy for the foreseeable future aren't all going to look the same. Some top index fund picks will be so buy-and-hold-oriented that you won't need to worry about the bubble popping in a year or two or three because you plan on holding for 20 years, maybe 30. Some of the best picks for next year will only be worth buying into for tactical trades of a week or two at a time. The best index funds for 2019? More like the best ones for mid-April! So the following is a list of the best index funds for everyone -- from long-term retirement-minded investors to click-happy day traders. And this includes a few funds that I either hold currently or have traded in the past. * Take Buffett's Advice: 5 Vanguard Funds to Buy In no particular order … ### iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) Type: Large-Cap Equity Expenses: 0.04%, or $4 annually for every $10,000 invested. Every year, I take a look at the best index funds for investors, and the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:VOO) is always at the top of my list. The argument is typically the same, and consists of two parts: * The S&P 500 Index is one of the best chances you have at solid investment performance. That's because most equity funds fail to beat the market, most hedge funds fail to beat the market, and, to quote Innovative Advisory Group, "individual investors as a group have no idea what they are doing." So if beating the market is so darned hard, just invest "in the market" and get the market's actual return. The VOO and two other exchange-traded funds allow you to do that. * The VOO is the cheapest way to invest in the S&P 500. But that second point has changed. A few years ago, the Department of Labor green-lit a new set of fiduciary rules that will require financial advisers to make recommendations for retirement holdings that are actually in the client's best interest. (Crazy, I know.) In trying to position itself for advisers suddenly enticed to suggest the lowest-cost offerings, iShares parent BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE:BLK) lowered the fees on 15 of its Core-branded ETFs, including the S&P 500-tracking iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:IVV). Previously, the IVV charged 7 basis points -- better than the SPDR S&P 500 ETF's (NYSEARCA:SPY) 9.45 bps, but still above VOO's 5 bps. Now, though, IVV falls closest to the cellar at just 4 basis points in annual fees. Thus, the recommendation stands. Buy the market for as cheap as you can -- and right now, that's the IVV. And that note of caution? If the valuation bubble does pop, the S&P 500 and its components very well could be hit harder than many other blue-chip stocks outside the index. If you only have a few years left in your investment horizon, you should acknowledge this and invest (and monitor) accordingly. If your investment horizon is measured in decades, buy and never look back. Learn more about iShares' IVV here. ### The Best Index Funds to Buy: iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (IJH) Type: Mid-Cap Equity Expenses: 0.07% As I just said, it's difficult to beat the market. But the iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:IJH) is awfully, awfully darn good at it. From a total performance perspective, the IJH has beaten the IVV over a 15-year period. And yet, very few people talk about the IJH, just as very few people talk about the companies that make it tick, such as veterinary supplier Idexx Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDXX) and plant-based food and beverage producer WhiteWave Foods Co (NYSE:WWAV). So … what's the deal? Mid-cap companies are frequently referred to as the market's "sweet spot." That's because, as Hennessy Funds describes in a recent whitepaper (PDF), they typically feature much more robust long-term growth potential than their large-cap brethren, but more financial stability, access to capital and managerial experience than their small-cap counterparts. The result: "Using standard deviation as a statistical measure of historical volatility, investors in mid-cap stocks have consistently been rewarded with lower risk relative to small-cap investors over the 1, 3, 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ended December 31, 2015. While mid-caps have historically exhibited higher standard deviation than large-caps, investors were compensated for this higher volatility with higher returns for the 10, 15 and 20 year periods." Ben Johnson, CFA, director of global ETF research for Morningstar, points out that "an investment in a dedicated mid-cap fund reduces the likelihood of overlap with existing large-cap allocations and stands to improve overall portfolio diversification." In other words, IJH is an outstanding fund, but don't consider it an S&P 500 replacement -- consider it an S&P 500 complement. * The Bogle Way: 7 Index Funds for Passive Investors Invest in both. Learn more about IJH here. ### The Best Index Funds to Buy: SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) Type: Industry (Banking) Expenses: 0.35% Bank stocks have done very, very well in 2019, with solid year-to-date performances in stocks like Bank of America (NYSE:BAC, +16%) and Citigroup (NYSE:C, +16.7%) leading the broad Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLF) to a 6.5% gain since the start of 2019. This makes the SPDR S&P Bank ETF (NYSEARCA:KBE) especially attractive. Since Donald Trump's election, the KBE has gained just shy of 20% on the belief Trump will tear down Wall Street regulations, creating an environment that's much more conducive to bank profits. That was confirmed in late 2016, when Trump confirmed Steve Mnuchin as his pick for Treasury Department secretary, and Mnuchin was quick to say that "(stripping) back parts of Dodd-Frank that prevent banks from lending" was top on his list of priorities. Mnuchin said something else telling -- namely, that regional banks were the "engine of growth to small- and medium-sized businesses." I got a call from Chris Johnson of JRG Investment Group after that, and he quipped, "It's like he stared into the camera and winked at every regional bank and said, 'You're going to make money again.'" While XLF does hold banks, it also holds insurers and other types of financials. KBE is a more focused collection of more than 60 banks, including national brands like Bank of America to smaller regionals like Montana-based Glacier Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:GBCI), which is less than $3 billion by market cap. These stocks will not only benefit from any anti-regulation action but also future interest rate hikes. Learn more about SPDR's KBE here. ### The Best Index Funds to Buy: PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (PPA) Type: Sector (Defense) Expenses: 0.64% Another Trump play worth the while is defense stocks. Yes, most pundits thought defense plays would do well under either Clinton or Trump, but the consensus seems to see the president-elect as the more defense-friendly choice. The PowerShares Aerospace & Defense Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PPA) is one of two ideal ways to play the defense space broadly. The other is the iShares U.S. Aerospace & Defense ETF (NYSEARCA:ITA), and frankly, I think it's a toss-up between the pair. It just depends on what you're looking for. Both are heavy in many of the same stocks, such as Boeing Co (NYSE:BA) and United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX). The price advantage goes to the iShares fund, which is cheaper by 20 basis points. However, PPA is a better choice if you're looking for more diversification -- slightly less of its weight is in its top 10 holdings than ITA, and it also features 51 holdings to ITA's 37. The PowerShares ETF also hasn't run as hotly as iShares' fund. The ITA is up 41% since the February bottom versus about 38% for PPA, and the former is up just a hair more since the election. It's a small difference, but an important one. Defense stocks are clobbering the market this year, including more than doubling the S&P 500 since Trump got elected. This isn't a hidden trade. Frankly, I think new money should consider waiting for the next sizable market dip to knock some of the froth off before buying either of these ETFs. * 10 Lithium Stocks to Buy Despite the Market's Irrationality But defense will rule for at least the next four years. Thus, PPA and ITA will too. Learn more about PowerShares' PPA here. ### Global X SuperDividend Emerging Markets ETF (SDEM) Type: Emerging-Market Dividend Expenses: 0.65% The next four funds are dedicated yield plays, and we're starting with a pretty young (and aggressive) ETF -- the Global X SuperDividend Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEARCA:SDEM). But there are a few sound theories that could make this one of the best international plays. Trump is widely considered to be a net negative for emerging markets because of his anti-trade, pro-U.S. rhetoric. But as Paul J. Lim and Carolyn Bigda at Fortune point out, the recent reactionary drought in EM stocks has brought their price-to-earnings ratios "30% below their long-term average." Plus, if Trump ends up being mostly talk on this front, that fear will abate, taking pressure off emerging markets. The duo points out a number of other drivers, including … * Stimulated U.S. economic growth would benefit emerging markets who export to the West. * Commodity price pressure has eased, helping the many materials plays in EMs. * Higher oil prices should reduce the number of loan defaults in oil and gas, which will lift some of the worries about emerging markets' financial companies. All of that stands to benefit the SDEM, which boasts materials (23%) and financials (15%) as its two heaviest sectors, and invests heavily in commodity-focused markets including Brazil and Russia. SDEM does pose a bit of risk by intentionally investing in some of the highest yielders across a number of emerging markets -- as we all know, dividends can suggest financial stability, but excessively high dividends can be a symptom of troubled companies. But Global X views the high dividends as another factor of value (the reason yields are high is because the stocks are underappreciated), and it does mitigate this risk by equally weighting its 50 holdings upon every rebalancing. So right now, the largest weight in the fund is Indian miner Vedanata Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:VEDL) at just less than 4% of the fund. SDEM's monthly dividend yields 4.9% based on the past 12 monthly payouts, but if future payouts look anything like recent ones, you're looking at closer to 4%. That's still excellent for an emerging-markets fund, and icing on the cake if the potential for an EM rebound is realized. Learn more about SDEM here. ### PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio (SPHD) Type: U.S. Dividend Expenses: 0.3% If you're looking for dividend stocks without quite so much risk, the PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEARCA:SPHD) is literally designed to provide you with just that. The SPHD is another 50-stock portfolio that seeks out dividends, not in risky emerging markets, but in the most stable high-yield blue chips the S&P 500 has to offer. To do this, the index takes the 75 highest-yielding constituents of the index, with a maximum of 10 stocks in any one particular sector, then takes the 50 stocks with the lowest 12-month volatility from the group. The result is a mostly boring group of stocks that are heavy in utilities (17%), industrials (15%) and real estate (13%). What's interesting there is that information technology is a fairly heavyweight at 12% of the fund. The fund also uses a modified market cap-weighting scheme that provides a ton of balance. Even top holdings CME Group Inc (NASDAQ:CME) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) are just barely 3% of the fund apiece. The main purpose of a fund like SPHD is to create even returns and strong income -- something more in line of protection against a down market. But it has even managed to clobber SPY (and numerous dividend ETFs) amid a rip-roaring rally. * 7 Dark Horse Stocks You Really Need to Look at for 2019 SPHD is young, but it looks like one of the best index funds on the market. Learn more about SPHD here. ### SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Bond ETF (JNK) Type: Junk Bond Expenses: 0.4% In late 2014, I picked the SPDR Bloomberg Barclays High-Yield Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:JNK) as one of the best index funds to buy for 2015, and JNK responded by dropping 13% that year, and recovering to "only" 6% declines as Dec. 8, 2016. On a total return basis, however, JNK has actually returned 5.5%. That reflects the general idea behind buying JNK -- even in difficult times for junk bonds, a heavy yield can do a lot to offset capital losses, and then some. Through the flagging months of 2016, investors soured on numerous yield plays as a knee-jerk reaction to the idea that the Federal Reserve would almost certainly will raise rates in December -- and likely continue to push rates higher in 2019. But Invesco recently released a report showing that high-yield bonds like those held in JNK actually perform well in rising-rate environments (PDF). It starts: "Since 1987, there have been 16 quarters where yields on the 5-year Treasury note rose by 70 basis points or more. During 11 of those quarters high yield bonds demonstrated positive returns; during the five quarters where high yield bond returns were not positive, the asset class rebounded the following quarter." There's a number of reasons for this, such as an expanding economy normally being a boon for corporate debt service (lowering default rates), a lower relative duration rate of junk bonds and the boosting of returns via prepayment penalties by companies anxious to reduce or eliminate their debt before rates increase. Meanwhile, near-zero rates have helped keep down the rates on junk bonds, so right now JNK is yielding nearly 6% despite offering some of its lowest nominal payouts since inception in late 2007. Expect that to rise along with interest rates in coming years, which will provide outstanding annual returns from income alone to anyone with a long investment horizon. Learn more about SPDR's JNK here. ### The Best Index Funds to Buy: VanEck Vectors Preferred Securities ex Financials ETF (PFXF) Type: Preferred Stock Expenses: 0.41%* Another less-ballyhooed asset geared toward high income is preferred stocks. They're called "preferred" because the dividends on them actually take preference over common stock dividends. Preferreds must be paid before commons are, and in the case of a suspension, many preferred stocks demand that the company pay all missed dividends in arrears before resuming dividends to common shares. And the "stocks" part of the moniker is a little misleading too, because they actually have a lot in common with bonds: * While common stock technically is equity, it typically doesn't include voting rights (like bonds). * Also, rather than a dividend that may fluctuate from payout to payout like a stock, preferreds have one fixed, usually high, payout amount that's assigned when the stock is issued (like bonds). * While common stock technically can register capital gains and losses, they tend to trade close to the par value assigned at issuance, which often is $25. So they might trade at a little discount, or a little premium, but they don't fluctuate a lot. In other words: They have low volatility. While I have long been (and still am) invested in the iShares U.S. Preferred Stock ETF (NYSEARCA:PFF), my recommendation is the VanEck Vectors Preferred Securities ex Financials ETF (NYSEARCA:PFXF). The PFXF was one of a few ex-financials funds that came to life in the wake of the 2007-09 financial crisis and bear market. So it differs mightily from most preferred stock funds which are heavy in banks and other financial stocks. Instead, PFXF is loaded with preferreds from utilities (29%), REITs (28%) and telecoms (15%). * 7 Companies Apple Should Consider Buying But the real draw of PFXF is its low 0.4% expense ratio, tiny beta of 0.2 and 5.9% yield -- the best combination of the three in the space. *Includes an 8-basis-point fee waiver Learn more about VanEck's PFXF here. ### The Best Index Funds to Buy: Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3x Shares (LABU) Type: Leveraged Industry (Biotech) Expenses: 0.95%* I have no doubt that a Democratically controlled Washington, D.C., would've cracked down hard on drug pricing -- not just because Hillary Clinton telegraphed her intentions with a famous biotech-crushing tweet in September 2015, but also because of the subsequent pressure put on Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl Inc (NYSE:VRX) and Mylan NV (NASDAQ:MYL) after subsequent brouhahas over gouging. Thus, I believe pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies were given a stay of execution with the election of Donald Trump and a Republican Congress. But while I'm long both pharmaceuticals via the Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLV) and biotechs via the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEARCA:XBI), I think the best healthcare opportunity will be found by traders who tango with the Direxion Daily S&P Biotech Bull 3x Shares (NYSEARCA:LABU). The LABU is a 3x leveraged index fund that aims to provide triple the daily returns of the S&P Biotechnology Select Industry Index -- the same index the XBI is based off. Note the term "daily returns" -- the longer you hold onto leveraged funds, the more your returns can skew from the movement of the index. But, if you're simply looking to make a trade over the course of a few days or even a couple of weeks, LABU can rip off insane returns, such as the 33% it returned in just the first day after Clinton was defeated. I think biotechs could still be in for a bumpy ride, as popular outcry over sky-high drug pricing isn't going away. Moreover, there's still the issue of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) increasingly siphoning pharmaceutical and biotechs' profits. But aggressive traders will get the most bang for their buck trying to play dips with tools like LABU, while fiscal hermit crabs like myself are content to sit in XBI and enjoy the uneven crawl higher. *Includes 12-basis-point fee waiver. Learn more about Direxion's LABU here. ### The Best Index Funds to Buy: Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull and Bear 3x Shares (NUGT/DUST) Type: Leveraged Industry (Gold Mining) Expenses: 0.94%/0.95%* The last of the best index funds are actually a pair of funds that you can use to trade gold. (Sort of.) The Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bull 3x Shares (NYSEARCA:NUGT) and Direxion Daily Gold Miners Index Bear 3x Shares (NYSEARCA:DUST) are actually leveraged plays on the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index -- an index of gold mining companies that powers the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX). Why gold miners? Gold miners have certain all-in costs of mining gold, and so they move heavily based on the price of the commodity. In fact, they tend to be more volatile than gold itself. Just take the first half of 2016, in which the SPDR Gold Trust (ETF) (NYSEARCA:GLD) returned a robust 25%. GDX doubled in that same time frame. And NUGT? NUGT returned 420% -- so, more than quadruple the GDX. But if you timed the play wrong, you were sunk. If you bought NUGT in May and held through the end of the month, you were down 40% to GDX's 14%. I have no doubt that 2019 will [continue to] provide a number of big drivers (in either direction) for gold, from U.S. dollar movements to interest rate hikes to renewed Brexit fears. NUGT and DUST are two lucrative ways to profit off those trends. * Top 10 Global Stock Ideas for 2019 From RBC Capital Just handle with care. *Includes a 9-basis-point fee waiver for NUGT and a 2-basis-point fee waiver for DUST. Learn more about NUGT & DUST here. As of this writing, Kyle Woodley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Follow him on Twitter at @KyleWoodley. ### More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Companies Apple Should Consider Buying * 7 Beaten-Up Housing Stocks Due for a Bounce Back * Take Buffett's Advice: 5 Vanguard Funds to Buy Compare Brokers The post The 10 Best Index Funds to Buy and Hold appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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