Making Money Alert: A Correction in the Works

Doug Fabian

Doug Fabian is known for his expert knowledge of ETFs, bear funds and enhanced index funds to profit in any market climate.

Last Wednesday, the market suffered a big sell-off, thanks in large part to rumblings from the Federal Reserve that the punch bowl of easy money will, at some point, be taken away from Wall Street. Then on Monday, word of what’s being called a “hung parliament” after the tumultuous Italian election rocked equities here at home, and that caused stocks to fall more than 200 Dow points.

On Tuesday, and again today, stocks have come back and regained their bullish mojo, and that’s due largely to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his testimony to Congress. The central bank chief made it quite clear that the easy money spigot isn’t going to be turned off anytime soon. Hence, we’re seeing a resumption of the pell-mell buying across the board.

Still, the latest bout of selling on what I call “real news” is something that’s telling me a change in the zeitgeist of the market is taking shape. In fact, I see the last two big down days as the beginning of a correction in the works. Given the extreme run higher in stocks so far this year, a correction could be very painful for those with excessive equity exposure.

So, what “real news” events are going to keep putting pressure on this market going forward?

First off, the hike in the payroll tax of 2% already has put pressure on discount retailers such as bellwether Wal-Mart (WMT), and I suspect the real pain of this tax will be felt once discount retailers begin coming in with first quarter earnings in April. Then we have higher gasoline prices, which keep going up, up, up. In fact, according to AAA, last week the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.78, which is one of the highest on record for February. Moreover, up until last week, we saw gasoline prices rise for 36 consecutive days, the longest such string of increases in nearly two years.

Exclusive  AT&T Seeks to Offer National Video with Purchase of DirecTV

The latest point of real-news worry for investors is the so-called sequestration, which will trigger automatic federal spending cuts this Friday if the president and Congress can’t come to an agreement on a deficit reduction package. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the automatic spending cuts set to begin March 1 will slow economic growth by 0.6% and cut 750,000 jobs.

All of these headwinds, along with the grossly overbought equity market, make me extremely cautious about this market going forward. As such, I think now is not the time to tempt fate and buy in.

Finally, what passes for real news out there in the financial media these days really just amounts to an endless parade of bullish talking heads promoting the “buy, buy, buy” Wall Street party line. Rarely do I see anyone talking about how to accomplish the goal of getting safe, rational returns.

I’ve always been of the opinion that protecting assets and getting rational returns on your money is the best way to invest. In fact, one of the goals of the Alert, and of my Successful Investing advisory service, is to help you do just that.

So, don’t believe the hype or the bullish heads out there. Study the real news, and act accordingly.

Schwab ETFs Lower the Bar on Expenses

By David Fabian

I recently attended an industry event hosted by discount brokerage pioneer Charles Schwab that highlighted the company’s line of exchange-traded fund offerings. The hosts meticulously outlined the history, track record, and asset allocation of their funds, which feature 15 well-known index-based strategies. While none of the funds were earth-shatteringly unique in their construction, they all can be used as tools that investors can tap to help build a well-diversified portfolio.

Exclusive  PowerTalk: Immigration and Immigration Reform with former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez

According to www.schwabetfs.com, these funds are “designed to be core building blocks of a diversified portfolio. Each fund provides exposure to a specific segment of the market, offering low cost, trading flexibility, and transparency.”

The Schwab ETFs have some of the lowest internal expense ratios in the industry with their Broad Market and Large Cap funds charging only 0.04% annually. In addition, investors who purchase these ETFs from their Schwab brokerage accounts are able to buy and sell the funds without being charged a transaction fee.

Domestic Equity ETFs Ticker
Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF™ SCHB
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap ETF™ SCHX
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Growth ETF™ SCHG
Schwab U.S. Large-Cap Value ETF™ SCHV
Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF™ SCHD
Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF™ SCHM
Schwab U.S. Small-Cap ETF™ SCHA
Schwab US REIT ETF™ SCHH
Domestic Equity ETFs
Schwab International Equity ETF™ SCHF
Schwab International Small-Cap Equity ETF™ SCHC
Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF™ SCHE
Fixed Income ETFs
Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF™ SCHZ
Schwab Short-Term U.S. Treasury ETF™ SCHO
Schwab Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury ETF™ SCHR
Schwab U.S. TIPS ETF™ SCHP

I was surprised to hear that the Schwab ETF family now has surpassed the $100 billion mark in total assets, and that puts the investment firm in a position to control approximately 10% of total ETF dollars domestically. Clearly, Schwab has done an excellent job of marketing their funds’ rock-bottom expenses to investors, both to its own client base, as well as to non-Schwab clients.

Schwab currently boasts eight domestic funds, three international funds, and four bond funds (see the table above). However, the Schwab ETF expert giving the presentation did mention that the company has several more funds in registration that will be available soon.

Exclusive  Why You Should Pay Attention to Non-Correlated Assets

If you are a cost-conscious ETF investor, then I recommend giving these funds thorough consideration when building a diversified portfolio.

Careful What You Read

“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed. If you do, you are misinformed.”

–Mark Twain

The great American writer had one of the best takes on the media that I’ve ever read, and his words are truer now than they’ve ever been. The lesson here: Be very careful about what you read.

Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow Making Money Alert readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my audio podcast, newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Doug.

To read my e-letter from last week, please click here. I also invite you to comment about my column in the space provided below.

previous article

High and rising gas prices, causing pain at the pump, are sweeping across the nation like an epidemic right now. And while the contagion surely has spread to you and me, the best revenge could be to capitalize on this trend by investing in oil and gas companies. For the next few weeks, we will discuss exchange-traded funds (ETFs) which focus on different segments of the energy industry. We start today with the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP).

PREMIUM SERVICES FOR INVESTORS

Dr. Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Bryan Perry

A former Wall Street financial advisor with three decades' experience, Bryan Perry focuses his efforts on high-yield income investing and quick-hitting options plays.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker,
financial journalist, and money manager. As well as a book author and regular contributor to
numerous investment websites, Jim is the editor of:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson provides independent, objective research covering all the financial issues of retirement and retirement planning. In addition, Bob serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County (VA) Employees’ Retirement System, which has over $2.8 billion in assets.

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Mike Turner

Mike Turner’s financial, mathematical, computer science and engineering background serves as the foundation for his disciplined, rules-based approach to trading. Mike’s three services include:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

Hilary Kramer

Hilary Kramer is an investment analyst and portfolio manager with 30 years of experience on Wall Street. Since 2010, Hilary's financial publications have provided stock analysis and investment advice to her subscribers:

Product Details

LEARN MORE HERE

DividendInvestor.com

Used by financial advisors and individual investors all over the world, DividendInvestor.com is the premier provider and one-stop shop for dividend information and research.

Product Details

Popular tools include our proprietary Dividend Calendar, Dividend Calculator, Dividend Score Card, and many more.

LEARN MORE HERE