Volatility is ruling the market for some time now. Rising rate concerns in the United States have spooked the broader market. Overvaluation, U.S.-Sino trade tensions and the resultant pressure on global growth, geopolitical issues and uncertainty around mid-terms are added worries (read: ETF Strategies for the Midterm Elections).

While the entire October has been tumultuous, Oct 24 saw a severe selloff with the S&P, Dow Jones and the Nasdaq Composite losing a respective 3.1%, 2.4% and 4.4%. The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones are now in the red for the year and the Nasdaq has slipped into the correction territory. CBOE Volatility Index VIX, widely viewed as the best gauge of fear in the market, rose 21.8%. The index is up 103% in the past month (as of Oct 24, 2018) (read: October Traditionally Most Volatile: ETFs That Gained).

Big three U.S. ETFs — SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF DIA and Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ — lost about 9.1%, 7.9% and 11.2% this month (as of Oct 24, 2018). Meanwhile, all-world ETF iShares MSCI ACWI ETF ACWI shed about 9.5%. For the year, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones are down 1.5% and 0.1%.

Morgan Stanley apprehends more selling pressure on Wall Street due to “declining liquidity and growing concerns about peaking growth”. Very few areas are in the green at the moment.

These Low Risk ETFs Could be Useful

Against this backdrop, we highlight a few low-risk ETFs to soothe investors’ nerves.

Cambria Core Equity ETF CCOR

The actively managed fund uses a host of strategies to offer capital appreciation while lowering risk quotient across market conditions. “The fund invests in high-quality companies across all industries and sectors, that have prospects for long-term total returns  as  a  result  of  their  ability  to  grow  earnings  and  their  willingness  to  increase dividends over time,” per the factsheet. The fund also buys index put options that can guard it against any market crash. The fund has added more than 0.7% on Oct 24 and 1.3% in the past month.

SPDR SSGA US Small Cap Low Volatility ETF SMLV

This fund also tracks the performance of U.S. small capitalization companies that exhibit low volatility. The fund is heavy on Financial Services (30.64%) followed by Real Estate (15.88%). It was up 0.6% on Oct 24. Meanwhile, it has lost 9% in the past month, in line with the S&P 500.

iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA Small-Cap ETF SMMV

The underlying index comprises small-cap stocks with lower volatility characteristics relative to the small-capitalization U.S. equity market. Real Estate (15.28%), Financials (15.13%), Health Care (14.49%), Consumer Discretionary (10.48%) and Information Technology (10.00%) are the top five sectors. It was down about 1.9% on Oct 24 but lost (down 6.2%) lesser than the S&P 500.

First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF HUSV

The fund looks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets in common stocks of domestic companies listed and traded on U.S. national securities exchanges. The fund was off 1.2% on Oct 24 and lost only 5.3% in the past month.

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SPDR-DJ IND AVG (DIA): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR-R2000 LV (SMLV): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHRS-MSCI ACWI (ACWI): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHRS-E MS MVUS (SMMV): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR-SP 500 TR (SPY): ETF Research Reports
 
NASDAQ-100 SHRS (QQQ): ETF Research Reports
 
CAMBRIA-CORE EQ (CCOR): ETF Research Reports
 
FT-HZN MVD (HUSV): ETF Research Reports
 
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