4 Low Volatility ETF Plays For A Rocky Market

The start of the fourth quarter has been rocky for the global stock market, which is trapped in a vicious circle of woes.

Yields are rising with 10-year U.S. Treasury yields climbing the highest level in more than seven years buoyed by booming domestic economy and inflation fears. This has taken a toll on investors’ appetite for U.S. equities, which has been outperforming international equities this year. The S&P 500 fell nearly 1% last week, marking its worst weekly performance since the week of Sep. 7.

Moreover, the steep sell-off in Chinese equities has made investors jittery. The decline came despite the People's Bank of China (PBOC) efforts to spur economic growth by cutting the reserve requirement ratios (RRRs) by 100 basis points effective Oct. 15. Notably, the Shanghai and Shenzen indexes dropped 3.7% in today’s trading session. Further, political turbulence in Italy added to the woes as the war of words between Rome and the European Union over the country’s budget escalated. Italy’s stock market fell to its lowest since April 2017 in today’s trading session.

If these weren’t enough, intensified U.S.-China trade war, the ongoing troubles in emerging markets, chances of auto tariffs on other countries, Iran oil sanctions, another budget deadline and the mid-term election in November are also weighing on global stocks.

Amid the uncertainties, the dual tailwinds of strong corporate earnings and a booming economy will continue to keep the positive momentum in the stock market alive albeit at a slower pace. As a result, investors may want to remain invested in the equity world but at the same time seek protection from a downside. This could be easily achieved by investing in low volatility products.

Why Low Volatility?

Low volatility ETFs have the potential to outpace the broader market in bearish market conditions or in an uncertain environment providing significant protection to the portfolio. This is because these funds include more stable stocks that have experienced the least price movement in their portfolio. Further, these are allocated primarily to defensive sectors that usually have a higher distribution yield than the broader markets.

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