VPU - Vanguard Utilities Index Fund ETF Shares

NYSEArca - NYSEArca Delayed Price. Currency in USD
142.79
+0.42 (+0.30%)
At close: 4:00PM EDT
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close142.37
Open142.66
Bid142.89 x 900
Ask145.27 x 900
Day's Range142.12 - 143.06
52 Week Range113.06 - 143.06
Volume245,610
Avg. Volume164,161
Net Assets5.37B
NAV142.85
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
Yield2.79%
YTD Return22.95%
Beta (3Y Monthly)0.26
Expense Ratio (net)0.10%
Inception Date2004-01-26
Trade prices are not sourced from all markets
  • 5 Utility Stocks for Conservative Investors
    InvestorPlace

    5 Utility Stocks for Conservative Investors

    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.

  • ETF Winners Amid Half-Hearted Response to Fed's Rate Cut
    Zacks

    ETF Winners Amid Half-Hearted Response to Fed's Rate Cut

    These ETF emerged winners as the Fed cut rates by 25 bps in its September meeting.

  • ETF Trends

    Depressed Bond Yields Help These Sector ETFs Shine

    In times of uncertainty with rates under pressure as investors shifted to safe-haven plays, attractive yield-generating sector ETFs covering the real estate and utilities segments outperformed, and touched ...

  • Top Performing Utility ETFs This Year
    Zacks

    Top Performing Utility ETFs This Year

    We take a look at utility ETFs gaining more than 20% year to date.

  • 5 All-Weather ETFs to Buy for Turbulent Markets
    InvestorPlace

    5 All-Weather ETFs to Buy for Turbulent Markets

    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.

  • Utility ETFs Skyrocket on Market Volatility and Low Rates (Revised)
    Zacks

    Utility ETFs Skyrocket on Market Volatility and Low Rates (Revised)

    Volatility is rearing its ugly head and the utilities sector is making the most of the uncertainty.

  • Utilities ETF (VPU) Hits New 52-Week High
    Zacks

    Utilities ETF (VPU) Hits New 52-Week High

    This utilities ETF hits a new 52-week high. Are more gains in store for this ETF?

  • ETF Trends

    Utilities, REIT ETFs for a Period of Heightened Volatility

    While volatility shook the markets, ETF investors may considered targeted sector plays that typically do well in times of heightened uncertainty. The CBOE Volatility Index, or so-called VIX, a gauge of ...

  • Successful Crisis Investing (With Dividends!)
    InvestorPlace

    Successful Crisis Investing (With Dividends!)

    One of the most important questions that investors need to ask is how their portfolios will fare during times of crisis. When the S&P 500 Index takes a dive, will their investments dive alongside it? Or will hold up or even rally?Source: Shutterstock My approach in Profitable Investing is to present an allocation to both stocks and fixed income which provides growth and income along with shock absorbers to steady the gyrations of the general stock market.This comes with lots of income from my recommended dividend stocks, as well as the heavy income from coupons and interest paid by bonds, preferred stocks and related funds.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsBut I can offer further perspective on investments that work better during general stock market sell-offs. It only takes a few bits of financial history to see what worked when the S&P 500 Index wasn't your friend. How to Invest in a CrisisTake for example its recent move from its high on July 26 through Thursday. The S&P 500 Index dropped by 4.7% in price, and yet there were plenty of investments which were not just holding up, but rallying. * 8 Dividend Aristocrat Stocks to Buy Now No Matter What I'll start with real estate investment trusts (REITs). REITs continue to be a go-to investment sector during many of the challenging market times over last year and through 2019, including the drop from July 26. The Bloomberg US REIT Index was up 1.4% during the recent plunge.S&P 500 Index July 26 to Date Total Return (White) Against REITS (Orange) Utilities (Yellow) US Bonds (Red) and Franco-Nevada (FNV) (Green) Source BloombergREITs continue to fare well because of their solid, real assets which generate dependable revenue flows which in turn fuels ample dividend income. In addition, most U.S. REITs are either totally focused on the U.S. market or are mostly focused on the U.S. property market. This insulated them from the global economic malaise as well as trade tensions between the U.S. and China.Next up is the U.S. utilities market. Utilities as tracked by the S&P Utilities Index rallied by 0.34%. That's not much, but it beats losing money. Utilities continue to benefit from the dependability of solid regulated businesses which provide set profit margins. And they also benefit from additional growth and income from unregulated operations, providing ancillary operations from power generation and transmission to other larger-scale essential services.They therefore have dependable income for better dividends than for the general stock market with the addition of growth prospects from the continued improvement in the general US economy.Then there's the bond market. I've always been a fan of bonds. That was one of my focuses in my professional life. U.S. bonds continue to benefit from low and falling inflation, rising demand, limited new supply and improving credit conditions from many issuers of bonds. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate US Bond Market Index rallied for the period by 1.8% as traders got further on board as stocks were sinking.And of course, U.S. bonds are ever more attractive in their yield as more and more of the major global bond markets have ever deepening negative yields.And last up in my suggested arsenal of crisis investments is gold. But just owning gold isn't as good as my preferred way of owning gold which pays a dividend. Gold of course did rally for the same time period. But gold costs money to buy and store it. Even the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD) costs 40 basis points (0.4%) per year to deal with its underlying assets. But for me, I like the idea of just buying the proceeds of ongoing gold production. This is called gold streaming. And one of the best in the business is Franco-Nevada (NYSE:FNV).This Canadian-based company has shares that easily trade on the U.S. exchanges. It doesn't mine gold, it buys and owns royalty and other interests in gold and other mineral production which streams income to the company. It then pays out part of the proceeds in the form of a dividend which currently yields 1.06%.And for the trailing year, Franco-Nevada outperformed GLD, with 33.1% in total return against 22.8%. And this isn't just a recent development, as the company has generated a return over the trailing five years which is better than GLD by a margin of 6.22 times better.Now, let's take a look at a stormier period of time for the S&P 500 Index -- the fourth quarter of 2018. The Index dropped by 14%, and yet the utilities rallied by 1.4%, U.S. Bonds rallied by 1.64% and my gold play in Franco-Nevada rallied to return 12.56%. Only REITs dropped, but by a much better margin than the S&P 500 Index. they lost 6.1%, far better than the plunge of the general stock market.Fourth Quarter 2018 Total Returns (Same as Above) Source BloombergNow, many REITs did much better than the overall U.S. REITs market. including one of my favorites -- WP Carey (NYSE:WPC) which generated a positive return for the fourth quarter by 3.21%. And during the plunge of Aug. 5 -- WPC held and rallied by 0.23% while the S&P 500 fell by 2.97%.For the general REIT market -- the easy-peasy way to gain crisis protection can by found in the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ). This provides synthetic exposure to the US REIT market at a ultra-low cost.And for U.S. utilities, Vanguard again is a good go-to source. Its Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:VPU) which provides good synthetic exposure to U.S. utilities at a low cost.For gold, I've already made part of my case for Franco-Nevada as the best gold play in the U.S. market.And for U.S. bonds I have another specific investment recommendation which subscribers of Profitable Investing will recognize. US bonds are performing very well this year with inflation low and falling with the core Personal Consumption Expenditure Index (PCE) falling over the trailing year to a current 1.60% - well below the Federal Reserve Bank Open Market Committee (FOMC) target above 2%.Core PCE Source BloombergU.S. bonds continue to perform well with the lower inflation and improving supply-and-demand conditions noted above. And when looking at the rest of the major global bond markets, the U.S. yields are still very much in the attractive positive range while the amount of negative yielding bonds keeps soaring in amount as non-U.S. bond investors are so desperate that they are effectively paying to own bonds. The total amount as tracked by Bloomberg & Barclays is now at $15.62 trillion.Amount of Negative Yielding Bonds Around the Globe Source Bloomberg & BarclaysNow, U.S. bonds have been good performers during crisis and prosperity this year with the overall return as tracked by Bloomberg Barclays at 8%. But I continue to advocate buying corporate higher-yielding bonds which have turned in a better return of 9.4% year to date.And one of the best means to capitalize on U.S. corporate higher-yielding bonds is to buy the BlackRock Credit Allocation Income Trust (NYSE:BTZ). This closed end fund yields 6% and yet trades at a whopping discount to its net asset value by 9.1%. And year to date, it has generated a return of 23.9%.Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate and High Yield Returns Compared to BlackRock Credit Allocation Income Trust (BTZ) Year to Date Source BloombergNow I've presented my way to invest during the recent times of crisis, 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.In addition, if you find yourself in San Francisco on Aug. 15-17, please join me at the MoneyShow, where I'll be presenting my economic and market analysis and my latest investment themes and recommendations. For more information, click here: https://www.moneyshow.com/Neil George is the editor of Profitable Investing and does not have any holdings in the securities mentioned above. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 8 Dividend Aristocrat Stocks to Buy Now No Matter What * 7 Stocks to Buy to Ride the Vegan Wave * 4 Safe Stocks to Buy Amid Trade War Turbulence The post Successful Crisis Investing (With Dividends!) appeared first on InvestorPlace.

  • Mixed Q2 Earnings Results Put Utility ETFs in Focus
    Zacks

    Mixed Q2 Earnings Results Put Utility ETFs in Focus

    Here we look at some of the ETFs with strong exposure to three utility bigwigs post the release of their mixed Q2 earnings.

  • 9 Set-It-And-Forget-It ETFs to Simplify Your Portfolio
    InvestorPlace

    9 Set-It-And-Forget-It ETFs to Simplify Your Portfolio

    Many investors want a simple set-and-forget portfolio which will provide a balance between growth and income over time. And particularly if you are just beginning to build a portfolio, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) provide an easy and less expensive means to do this.Source: Shutterstock Inside my Profitable Investing, I have a large collection of model portfolios which are offered to achieve my goal of all-weather performance with lots of income and risk-controlled growth using stocks, bonds and funds -- including ETFs.For ETFs, your portfolio should be weighted to the best sectors of the U.S. markets, with shares in specific stock sectors that are geared to provide growth and income over time. As such, the stock ETF allocation should be set at 56% of your overall portfolio. I continue to recommend a roughly equal weighing for each of the funds you choose.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsThis same method applies in the fixed-income sectors that are focused on corporate bonds and preferred stock, as well as the buoyant municipal bond markets. The fixed-income allocation should be set at 44% overall, including an 11% allocation to cash. And like with the stock-based funds, the individual fixed-income ETFs should be weighted evenly. * 7 Retail Stocks to Buy for the Second Half of 2019 And note, the municipal bond ETFs can be bought in tax-free accounts. Some brokerages give warnings about this, but there are no restrictions to doing it. You will give up some of the tax-free income advantage, but the total return prospects for this market remain compelling. Stock AllocationsI'll start with the Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:VYM), for access to the general market with a dividend focus. VYM continues to do well year to date with a return of over 14%. Expenses are 0.6%, or just $6 annually for every $10,000 invested.That is the baseline for the stock market. Now let's move into one of the more attractive and defensive market sectors. REITs continue to gain from improving property values and rising income, fueling increasing dividends. Step into this sector safely with the Vanguard Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ). This ETF has resulting in a return year to date of 22% and expenses of 0.12%.Next we move on to the utilities market, which is also gaining from the security of essential services businesses. These, in turn, fuel ample and rising dividends. This sector should be bought with the Vanguard Utilities ETF (NYSEARCA:VPU), which has turned in a return year-to-date of 15.7% and carries expenses of 0.1%.Healthcare traditionally has been a reliable growth market through thick and thin. Americans continue to need more and more healthcare and related products -- again providing security in revenues and reliable dividends. This sector has, though, been affected by concerns over potential government changes in healthcare rules. But these concerns, while valid, are still well into the future, probably well beyond the 2020 election. You can invest here with the Vanguard Health Care ETF (NYSEARCA:VHT), which has generated a return to date of 10.8%. The expense ratio is 0.1%.Then we move to the technology market. This sector is challenged by the trade negotiations between the U.S. and China, which may further impact supply chains in China as well as sales all over the world. But the innovation engines remain on a fuller throttle, resulting in a return that dwarfs the general stock market. Buy in here with the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:VGT) with a return to date of 31.3% and expenses of 0.1%.The petroleum and energy markets remain uncertain. The supply of crude oil outside the U.S. continues to be threatened by internal hostilities in many Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and externally, by sanctions on others including some attacks on ships and pipelines in the Middle East. In the US, shale producers are pumping lots and infrastructure to transport it is coming online -- but the stockpiles are holding down prices.In addition, a slowing global economy is putting supply and demand models into a case for less demand, which is also putting a cap on prices.All this said, the U.S. companies remain great sources of cash flows and are fueling U.S. regional economic growth. And in turn -- they are generating ample cash for bigger dividends. The sector should be represented by the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (NYSEARCA:XLE) which has turned in a return year to date of 12.2%.Stock Sector Performance Year to Date Using Vanguard and SPDR ETFs Source Bloomberg Fixed-Income ETFs to Invest InAmong fixed-income allocations, you should have specific ETFs for corporate bonds, preferred stocks and municipal bonds.The U.S. economy continues to grow, with little inflation. This is providing excellent opportunities for specific sectors of the bond markets. Add in a docile Federal Reserve Bank which, while not cutting its target rate range for Fed Funds in the June meeting of its Open Market Committee (FOMC), is still expected to ease money conditions in the target range.Corporate bonds are doing well. The economy is bringing more revenues to companies, which in turn makes them better credit risks. And with yield above Treasuries, they drive more demand for these bonds. This sector should be bought with the SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:SPIB) which has generated a return year to date of 5.5% and a 12-month yield of 3.1%. Expenses are 0.07%.Next is preferred stocks. Preferred stocks are the bonds of the stock market. They provide the certainty of largely fixed dividends that are paid before dividends to common stockholders. They are defensive and bigger income-producing investments -- perfect for the current market. The sector should be bought with the iShares Preferred & Income Securities ETF (NASDAQ:PFF) which has generated a return to date of 8.8% and has a 12-month yield of 5.8%. Expenses are 0.46%.Municipal bonds continue from last year to be a go-to market for improving prices with yield premiums to U.S. Treasuries. With the economy doing better, tax revenues for most state and local authorities are improving as well, which in turn drives up the credibility and bond prices. The sector should be bought for total return and not just tax-free income with the Vanguard Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:VTEB) which has turned in a return to date of 4.1%. Its 12-month yield is 2.3% and expenses are 0.08%.Fixed Income Sector Year to Date Performance using Index Sector ETFs Source BloombergNow I've presented my way to build an all-weather ETF portfolio, 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. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Stocks to Buy on College Students' Radars * 7 Retail Stocks to Buy for the Second Half of 2019 * The S&P 500's 5 Best Highest-Yielding Dividend Stocks The post 9 Set-It-And-Forget-It ETFs to Simplify Your Portfolio appeared first on InvestorPlace.

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