Three of the Most Consistent Sector ETFs for Investors to Consider

 |  Includes: IOO, IXP, PPA, QTEC, RYH
by: Gary Gordon

Face it ... you’ve probably been waiting for a more significant equity pullback. And you’ve been wondering why market participants haven’t taken more profits or waited for larger dips to put new money to work.

In some ways, it may or may not be as simple as this: Short-sellers have yet to throw in the towel. It is true that investors betting that stocks will fall nearly caved on Friday, January 14. (Review my feature on the efficacy of the CBOE Put/Call Ratio.) However, until the uber-pessimists finally fold up their tents, we’re unlikely to see a 4-5% sell-off ... let alone a more powerful correction.

What are the implications? You can patiently hold a portion in cash, waiting to acquire stock ETFs that have been on your “Wish List.” Or you can ignore the ups, downs and arounds by pursuing one or more sector ETFs that are providing portfolios with remarkable consistency.

Consistency is neither a financial word nor a statistical term. That said, for my purposes, consistent Sector ETFs are those that meet these three criteria:

A. Demonstrates gains over five days, one month, three months and six months.
B. Resides in the top half of relative strength percentile rank, but not the top quartile. (This is consistency, not red hot momentum.)
C. Owns a current “Risk Grade” that is the same or less than an appropriate benchmark.

My screen picked up as many as six exchange-traded funds, though an industry may have been represented multiple times. Here, then, are the three that I have deemed as most consistent:

1. iShares Global Telecom (NYSEARCA:IXP): Rumors that eventually became fact gave global telecom a boost. Specifically, Verizon’s (NYSE:VZ) ability to offer an iPhone and Vodaphone’s (NASDAQ:VOD) ownership of a large percentage of towers that Verizon uses helped this ETF in the latter part of 2010. It has earned 15% on a rolling six-month basis with less risk than the iShares Global 100 (NYSEARCA:IOO).

2. PowerShares Aerospace and Defense (NYSEARCA:PPA): In a recent column, I downgraded the defense/aerospace sector’s prospects from outperform to market perform. And the SPADE Defense Index creators were up in arms over my commentary ... even though I’d written countless positive reviews over the past six years. Regardless, PPA has outperformed the Nasdaq 100 ex Tech (NASDAQ:QTEC) over the last month and PPA has a lower P/E multiple than QTEC.

3. Rydex Equal Weight Health Care (NYSEARCA:RYH): Equal weight health care has positive gains in all the requisite time frames, a lower “risk grade” than the S&P 500. RYH also has a respectable 19% over the previous six months. What’s more, there are few that would call the sector “overvalued.” If investors can get over health care legislative uncertainty, RYH may be a peaceful means to a consistent financial outcome.

Disclosure: Gary Gordon, MS, CFP is the president of Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. Gary Gordon, Pacific Park Financial, Inc, and/or its clients may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds, and/or any investment asset mentioned above. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. At times, issuers of exchange-traded products compensate Pacific Park Financial, Inc. or its subsidiaries for advertising at the ETF Expert web site. ETF Expert content is created independently of any advertising relationships.