VPU - Vanguard Utilities Index Fund ETF Shares

NYSEArca - Nasdaq Real Time Price. Currency in USD
-1.67 (-1.32%)
As of 2:27PM EDT. Market open.
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Previous Close126.72
Bid125.14 x 800
Ask125.19 x 900
Day's Range124.35 - 127.94
52 Week Range96.09 - 156.43
Avg. Volume245,214
Net Assets5.34B
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
YTD Daily Total Return-10.19%
Beta (5Y Monthly)0.46
Expense Ratio (net)0.10%
Inception Date2004-01-26
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    My specialties involve economic and market data and developments and in turn the best individual securities from the stock, bond and other markets to capitalize on those developments for safer growth and income. This is what I showcase in my Profitable Investing -- now in its thirtieth year of publication.However, I understand the needs and wants for funds including exchange-traded funds (ETFs) by individual investors. It may be that portfolios are in smaller sums or are part of administered qualified retirement accounts including IRAs, 401k's, 403b's and SEP's. And many of these accounts are domiciled in the major fund companies. The Vanguard Group is one of the largest fund management companies, with over $5 trillion in assets under management (AUM). And in the U.S. market it is one of the leaders in providing individual investors a wide array of funds, including ETFs.Inside the model portfolios of Profitable Investing I have a collection of model mutual fund portfolios, including three which are specific to funds of individual fund families including Fidelity, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard. I do this to specifically guide subscribers who want or need to stay domiciled in fund families.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsAnd in all of the mutual fund portfolios, I provide an allocation to specific funds which seeks to match up to the main portfolio of individual securities in allocations and strategies. * 7 Great High-Yield Stocks With Payouts Over 5% Let me now show you how I line up the funds of Vanguard for a better portfolio. Stocks, Fixed Income & CashTo start, I have a current allocation of 56% in stocks, 44% in fixed income and included in that 44% is 11% in cash. I know that this allocation is less than many 60/40 stocks to bonds than is typical of asset allocations for many managers. But I have been a bit more conservative of late given many of the challenges to the financial markets, as well as the opportunities in the bond markets for not just income, but growth as well.I'll start with the stock allocations. My continued judgement is that the U.S. remains the prime market of the globe. Europe and Asia continue to have slower growth including some borderline recessionary conditions. And Latin America and Africa have a bevy of highly challenging problems.So, my allocations are highly focused on the U.S. markets right now. This is different from my decades of being focused more on global markets, as I was in banking and asset management. General US StocksVYM and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergThat said, the starting point for Vanguard is the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:VYM). This is an indexed ETF which is focused on U.S.-listed stocks which pay higher average dividends, nearly all in the U.S. market. This is my more measured approach to the S&P 500 Index, as the higher weightings on dividends provides a lesser risk to downturns as well as volatility. * 7 Large-Cap Stocks to Give a Wide Berth You'll note that over the past 10 years, the Vanguard ETF has generally provided more consistent total return including dividend income. And in 2018 during the severe downturn in the S&P 500 Index, the Vanguard ETF held up much better. But for 2019, with a drive towards more aggressive stocks (particularly in the technology sector), it has lagged. But my view is that I want to achieve a lower volatility and lower risk return over time. Real EstateVNQ and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergNext in the stock allocation is real estate investment trusts (REITs). This is done with the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ). REITs continue to benefit from a growing U.S. economy fueling property demand and better rental income. And with low inflation, funding costs are reduced for overall improving profitability.REITs continue to provide more lower-risk growth as they are mainly focused on U.S.-centric assets away from the global economic challenges. And as noted above, low inflation and strong-to-rising revenues feeds more valuable dividend income.For the trailing 12 months, the Vanguard REIT ETF has returned 16.56% outpacing the S&P 500 Index on a very consistent basis -- especially during some of the selloffs in late spring and later summer.And with a dividend yield of 3.25%, the ETF out pays the S&P 500 by a significant margin. With consistency based on real assets and defended dividend income, REITs in this ETF are a great way to achieve measured growth with higher income. UtilitiesVPU and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergThen I move to another defensive source for growth and income in the U.S. market with utilities. And this is done with the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:VPU). Like for REITs, U.S. utilities are insulated from global woes. They continue to capitalize on the growing U.S. economy, including lower inflation.The best utilities are combinations of regulated local services and unregulated wholesale businesses. The combination of dependable revenues and profit margins plus added growth and income from unregulated operations makes for a great way to generate steady-to-rising income and dividends with growth over time. * 7 Stocks to Sell Before They Roll Over The return for VPU for the trailing year is a positive 14.42%, which had been consistently outperforming the S&P 500 Index. But into this month, there has been some market activity placing bets for more growth from more aggressive market sectors at the cost of more defensive sectors such as utilities. I see this as a mistake which may well place investors at a higher level of risk -- and perhaps peril. TechnologyVGT and S&P 500 Index Total Return Source BloombergNow I come to the exciting part of the U.S. market in information technology. Technology is a big growth engine for the U.S. economy, and tech stocks reflect optimism for higher returns. I accomplish this allocation with the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:VGT).Technology is the alchemy of the market. Whether products come from silicon or the ether in the minds of app and software developers, profits can be achieved in momentous amounts. But not all of them work, and there are always new products and services. This makes for volatile markets.So, while investors need exposure, it should be done as part of a broader portfolio.The technology market has been a good one, and VGT has turned in a return over just the past five years alone of over 138% -- outpacing the S&P 500 two-to-one. But note the fourth quarter of 2018, as this charged segment comes with drops along the way. Fixed Income: Corporate BondsVCIT and Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index Total Return Source Bloomberg & BarclaysFixed income in the U.S. continues to be very good. The U.S. has very low inflation with little threat for some time to follow. This has led to lower yields and higher bond prices overall. But there are two sectors which I continue to advocate for investors in corporate bonds and municipal bonds.Corporate bonds continue to benefit from the growing economy. It's aiding credit conditions of businesses and bolstering their bond prices. And until recently, issuance has been slower -- aiding supply and demand for higher prices.My allocation to this market is in the Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF (NASDAQ:VCIT). This ETF has returned 16.25% over the trailing three years. That significantly outpaces the general U.S. bond market as tracked by the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index. Fixed Income: Municipal BondsVTEB and Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Index Total Return Source Bloomberg & BarclaysThen for municipal bonds, I have the Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:VTEB). Municipal bonds have been gaining like corporates on the growing economy. Tax revenues are up, aiding credit of issuers. Low inflation also aids bonds. And issuance has been muted. Many issuers have not had the need or the political will to sell more bonds. Add in stronger demand by individual investors needing or wanting more tax-exempt income aided by limits on state and local income tax (SALT) deductions as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA), and munis are ever mightier.VTEB continues to outperform the U.S. Aggregate Bond Index done by Bloomberg Barclays over the past trailing three years, with a return of 13.18%. * 7 Great High-Yield Stocks With Payouts Over 5% And note, even if you invest in qualified investment accounts, I still recommend the tax-free ETF for total return and not just for tax-free income.Now, that I have outlined my allocations to ETFs from Vanguard for safer growth and income, perhaps you might take a look at Profitable Investing. And for more income ideas, take a look at my recently published book, Income for Life, which covers sixty-five income streams in nearly 400 pages that anyone can get. And I've written them all up in a simple and engaging way that are easy to understand and follow.For more information on my book, Income for Life, click here. It lays out income-producing investment strategies for all economic conditions, as well as additional income producing ideas that anyone can use successfully.Neil George was once an all-star bond trader, but now he works morning and night to steer readers away from traps -- and into safe, top-performing income investments. Neil's new income program is a cash-generating machine…one that can help you collect $208 every day the market's open. Neil does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 7 Tech Stocks to Buy for the Rest of 2019 * 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy With Plenty of Power in the Pipeline * 5 Stocks to Buy That Are Set for Monster Growth in 2020 The post 6 Vanguard ETFs to Build a Better Portfolio appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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    These days, the news cycle is driving the show. It seems that every day, how the market finishes is 100% based on what's going on with the trade war, what the Federal Reserve is doing, or just how good or bad the data has been. For conservative or investors near or in retirement, it can be maddening. Which is why utility stocks could be the best thing for their portfolios.After all, utility stocks feature plenty of steady cash flows and high dividends. It doesn't matter so much what the economy is doing as people still need to heat their homes, keep the water flowing, and power the lights. This steadfastness makes utility stocks a prime choice for conservative investors. And now with the Fed decreasing rates, other investors tend to like them too.No wonder why the sector proxy -- the Utilities Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEArca:XLU) -- has gained over 21% year-to-date. That's before dividends.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips * 8 Dividend Stocks to Buy for a Recession As you can see, there is power in owning the power producers. For conservative investors, the sector's strength and boring nature really do pay plenty of benefits in a market like this. With that, here are five utility stocks worth buying today. Utility Stocks Perfect For Conservative Investors: UGI (UGI)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 2.58%For conservative investors looking at utility stocks, they should focus on the number 33. That's the number of consecutive years that utility UGI (NYSE:UGI) has managed to increase its dividend for. And given its recent moves, it should be able to add 34, 35, and so on to that impressive streak.The key is that UGI has been smartly using the utility holding company model to its advantage.UGI owns plenty of boring electric and gas operations in the Northeast. These regulated assets provide the utility stock with plenty of steady cash flows. The firm has been using these cash flows to fund non-regulated and tangential assets. These assets provide higher profit margins and an extra boost to its bottom line.A prime example would its recent buyout of Columbia Midstream Group. UGI already owned several FERC regulated interstate natural gas trunk lines in the region. With the addition of Columbia, the utility now gained several gathering and processing assets that feed into its pipeline system. This allows UGI to instantly see scale and additional profits.This strategy seems to be working for UGI. Last year was one of its best on record and the gains have continued this year as well. Adjusted EPS for last quarter -- after accounting for the buyout of its MLP subsidiary AmeriGas -- jumped more than 44% year-over-year.With profit gains like that, UGI should have no problems hitting its 4% annual dividend growth targets. York Water (YORW)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 1.77%If you had to guess what stock has been paying dividends the longest, names like Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) or Proctor & Gamble (NYSE:PG) may come to mind. But the title goes to a small and overlooked utility stock that may just be perfect for conservative investors. We're talking about humble York Water (NASDAQ:YORW) and its dividend streak of 203 consecutive years.York has been paying a dividend since its founding in 1816. The key comes from its operating niche. Water utilities are often monopolies in their operating regions. Moreover, they are heavily regulated. In this case, YORW provides water and treatment for 48 municipalities with York and Adams Counties in Pennsylvania. What's great about York is that it really has tried to grow massive like some water utilities. It just does what it does. Because of this, its results run like clockwork.And York has been pretty successful at winning rate increases from regulators. The latest one was approved at the start of the year. Given water's highly regulated nature, these rate increases provide just enough oomph to pay for rising costs, upgrades and boost profits. And York has handed those profits back via dividend increases. The latest one was a 4.4% jump. * 7 Stocks the Insiders Are Buying on Sale The reality is, YORW is not going to set your portfolio on fire and grow 1500%. But it what it can do is provide plenty of stability and income potential. Exactly what utility stocks should do. Consolidated Edison (ED)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 3.24%No list of stodgy utility stocks can be complete with Consolidated Edison (NYSE:ED). ConEd has been providing electricity, steam and natural gas for metropolitan New York for more than 180 years. And it turns out this niche of powering New York City, Westchester and parts of New Jersey is a very good one to be in. Thanks to their growing populations, steady economies and overall top-notch fundamentals, ConEd has become a profit and dividend champion.And the growth could keep coming. That's because ConEd has started to upgrade and make its system more high-tech.For starters, that includes plenty of renewable and solar energy projects in its operating region. Con Edison is actually the second-largest solar energy producer in North America. Secondly, ConEd has begun to roll-out new smart-meters and demand-response programs. This includes across its electric and natural gas operations. Here, consumers are rewarded for using less power at peak times. But for ConEd, this can be huge cost savings.Already, the utility has been struggling to meet the needs of New Yorker's when it comes to gas demand. It's simply having to buy more gas from third party players to meet the demand. Those costs are hurting its bottom line. With demand response, ED should be able to save a few dollars and reduce its outlays for gas. Even better is that regulators have allowed the utility to pass on the smart-meter costs to consumers. For ED stock, it's a win-win.It's a big win for investors as well and should help keep the dividends flowing at ED for years to come. NextEra Energy (NEE)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 2.22%Speaking of renewable energy, no utility stock is better at it than NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE). That's because like previously mentioned UGI, NEE has managed to use the utility holding company model perfectly.To start with, NextEra owns plenty of regulated utility assets in the sunbelt. These more than 4.6 million customers provide plenty of stable cash flows into its coffers and used those cash flows to build-out its non-regulated assets. More specially, NextEra has become the largest producer of solar and wind power in the United States. The best part is that renewable energy has finally hit parity with traditional fossil fuels in many cases. And given the lower costs to maintain a solar or wind farm, margins are getting quite juicy at NEE.NextEra is able to sell excess power produced at these solar farms to other utilities looking to meet new regulations or fill their own power needs. At this point, it's just easier for them to buy power from NEE than build a renewable energy farm on their own.For NEE this has meant plenty of profit growth over the years. Since 2003, EPS has managed to grow at a CAGR of nearly 8% per year. For a utility stock, that's a very strong rate of growth. And NextEra hasn't been shy about handing out excess cash to investors. Dividends have grown by over 9% in that time. * 10 Recession-Resistant Services Stocks to Buy With its business model continuing to see benefits, NextEra represents one of the best utility stocks out there for investors. Vanguard Utilities ETF (VPU)Source: Shutterstock Dividend Yield: 2.73%As the saying goes, there's safety in numbers. To that end, a broader strategy may be best. Which is why investors may want to go with an ETF that covers the utility stocks. Surely, you could go with the previously mentioned XLU -- and it's a fine choice. But the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEArca:VPU) might be a better pick.The reason comes down to coverage. The XLU holds just 28 utility stocks. VPU, however, offers broader coverage given its inclusion of large-, mid- and small-cap firms. That wide-sweeping approach bumps its total number of holdings to 69 different utilities. This includes all of them on this list. Better still is that VPU also beats the SPDR on expenses -- 0.10% vs. 0.13% -- and in terms of current dividend yield.Those slight differences in holdings, yield, and expenses have made VPU the better fund for the long haul. Over the last decade, the Vanguard ETF has managed to return about 12.46% annually. That's just over a half a percent more per year than the SPDR. Investing is a game of inches and that slight difference compounded over time really adds up. And yet, asset and trading volumes for the VPU are equally as swift.As a result, VPU should get the nod from investors looking for a broader approach to utility stocks. Given the market's rising volatility, they may just want to do that.At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not hold a position in any stock mentioned. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 8 Dividend Stocks to Buy for a Recession * 10 Companies Making Their CEOs Rich * The 7 Best S&P 500 Stocks of 2019 So Far The post 5 Utility Stocks for Conservative Investors appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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    The U.S. stock market continues to hit turbulence. Whether due to concerns over the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, increasing media attention on a possible U.S. recession or other economic challenges, it behooves you to make sure that your portfolio is set up to deal with risk while still generating growth and income.The U.S. economy remains a haven as much of the rest of the major economies of the world are slowing or are headed into recession. Meanwhile, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) remains firmly in the positive -- with expectations for full year 2019 GDP to be a positive 2.50%.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsMeanwhile, inflation remains down and low in the U.S. The Federal Reserve Bank's preferred gauge of inflation, the core Personal Consumer Expenditure Index (PCE), is running at a scant 1.60% down -- from January's high of 1.77%. In addition, inflation outside the U.S. continues to be low -- to the consternation of central banks.The underpinnings of the U.S. economy remain positive with consumers very much engaged and comfortable to keep spending. This is evidenced by the broad weekly survey results by Bloomberg in its Consumer Comfort Index, which remains up significantly over the trailing year at a current level of 61.50.But none of that is stopping traders from sending stocks gyrating up and down. Volatility spiked dramatically over the month of August.This has resulted in the S&P 500 Index being down 4.68% from recent highs in late July of this year.Meanwhile, U.S. bond yields continue to decline -- sending some to suggest that this is representative of a signal of a possible U.S. recession. But instead, as a former bond trader and bond investment manager, I argue that there are substantial reasons for lower yields and higher bond prices. Inflation, as noted above, is low and falling -- aiding bond prices. And issuance in the bond market outside of U.S. Treasuries is not keeping up with demand -- particularly in corporate bonds and municipal bonds.In addition, outside the U.S., bond yields for government and corporate issues continues to head deeper into negative territory. This means that bond investors are effectively paying to own bonds. And the market amount of negatively yielding bonds has just reached a new high of just shy of $17 trillion.This makes the US bond market all the more attractive with the still positive yields in Treasuries as well as corporate and municipal bonds. Total Amount of Negative Yielding Bonds Where to Go for Income and GrowthThere are specific segments of the markets which continue to deliver during downturns in the general S&P 500 Index. Each of these segments is exclusively or predominantly focused on the U.S. economy and markets, and each has a proven history of sustained and well-defended dividend flows.And thanks to the vast and seemingly ever-expanding ETF market, there are specific ETFs with successful tracking of the leading defensive segments. And in particular, Vanguard has a great series of ETFs with lower expense costs as well as ample liquidity in the market. REIT ETFs to BuyOne of the best defensive segments remains the real estate investment trust (REIT) market. REITs continue to fare well during both good and challenging times. The underlying security of real assets which in turn generate ample income to fuel dividend distributions remains a compelling case for investors. And thanks to the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act of 2017, REITs dividends come with a 20% tax-deduction, making the REIT yields even more attractive.And over the past five years, REITs have returned 55.75% -- for an average annual equivalent return of 9.26% as tracked by the Bloomberg U.S. REITs Index.Vanguard has its Vanguard Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ) which has performed mostly in line with the REIT market index with the ETF actually outpacing the Index year to date with a return of 24.72%. Best ETFs to Buy From the Utilities SectorNext is the U.S. Utilities market sector. Utilities continue to benefit from lower inflation and interest rates, which reduces their funding costs while also making their dividend yields all the more valuable for investors. And since most utility dividends are qualified -- the income tax liability is lower for most investors' tax-brackets.Utilities are U.S.-focused and also come with the benefit of regulated rates and profit margins for their general regulated operations. This provides certainty for both good and challenging economic times. And with the U.S. economy remaining in growth mode, demand for many essential services -- especially electric power -- is on the ascent in the U.S.In addition, many utilities also run extra non-regulated wholesale businesses ranging from wholesale power distribution and/or transmission or natural gas sales and transmission. This adds to the revenues for dividends as well as fueling additional growth.Over the past five years, U.S. utilities, as tracked by the S&P 500 Utilities Index, have returned 72.94% for an average annual equivalent return of 11.58%.Vanguard has an excellent ETF in this market with its Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:VPU). It has kept up and even bettered the market Index over the past five years. And year to date it has returned 18.92%. ETFs to Buy From the Consumer SectorThen one of the traditional defensive market segments is the consumer staples market. This is because traditionally, during good and bad economic times consumers and households overall continue spend on the necessities for life. That concept got severely challenged in 2018 as many traditional leaders in this market ran into a buzz saw of changing consumer tastes for packaged and branded goods and costs including transportation rose squeezing margins.But while many are still challenged to focus on the right products and brands along with cost controls - others have dragged their feet with the market punishing them. That said, the segment has many successful turnarounds including Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE:CL) and even General Mills (NYSE:GIS).The market segment overall is up 54.23% over past five years for an average annual equivalent return of 9.05% as tracked by the S&P 500 Consumer Staples Index.Vanguard has a well-run ETF in this segment with its Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (NYSEARCA:VDC). It has largely kept up with the Index. And for the year to date, the ETF has generated a return of 19.06%. And like for the utility stocks, most consumer goods stocks are tax-advantaged with qualified dividends. Investing in U.S. BondsU.S. Bonds, as noted above, continue to deliver positive yields with rising prices. And with the Fed on track to its money easing policies, including its target rate range for Fed Funds and its bond portfolio activities -- the market should be further supported.There are two segments of the U.S. bond market which you should focus upon. First is the corporate bond market. Yields are down with the rising credibility of issuers (who benefit from the supportive U.S. economy). And with less issuance and strong demand inside and from outside the U.S. -- the market is faring well.The U.S. corporate bond market, as tracked by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate Index, has generated a return over the past five years of 25.07%. And for the year to date, the Index has done even better with a return of 14.11%.Vanguard has an excellent ETF in the corporate bond market with its Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF (NASDAQ:VCIT). It has fewer longer-term bonds synthetically represented in the ETF which has limited its performance year to date to 13.37%. But this also means that it is less susceptible to yield gyrations going forward.Then, I come to a favorite market of mine in bonds -- municipals. Municipal bonds are benefiting from a series of developments. First, U.S. bond yields overall, including Treasuries, are down. Second, the U.S. economy is doing well -- which bolsters tax revenues which in turn is reducing the need for issuance. This, along with better demand from outside the U.S., means rising bond prices. And third, the TCJA limited state and local tax deductions (SALT). This means that investors, particularly in higher taxed states, are ever more eager for more tax-free income.The U.S. municipal bond market has seen a return year to date of 20.81% as tracked by the Bloomberg Barclays Municipal Bond Index. Vanguard has an excellent municipal bond ETF with its Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond Index ETF (NYSEARCA:VTEB). It has fairly matched the Bloomberg Barclays Index with a year-to-date return of 16.79%.And since I've presented my way to invest in a collection of all-weather ETFs, perhaps you might like to see more of my market research and recommendations for further safer growth and bigger reliable income. For more -- look at my Profitable Investing. Click here to learn more: https://profitableinvesting.investorplace.com/Neil George is the editor of Profitable Investing and does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above.The post 5 All-Weather ETFs to Buy for Turbulent Markets appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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