Trading Online Markets LLC banner

Five Steps to Build a Model ETF Portfolio

An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) model portfolio, offers investors a lower risk way to participate in the cyclical nature of the economy and the market. ETFs offer investors a way to reduce their risk by diversifying their individual stock exposure. Sector rotation is an investing strategy that seeks to buy and own ETFs that hold shares of companies in industries that should outperform the market. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of a sector rotation model ETF portfolio, here are five steps to you should you take.

By following these steps, you can build a model ETF portfolio that should generate high returns and help you sleep well at night.

  1. Identify the trend for the market over the next year. A year is far enough out to remove you from the day-to-day movement of the market. Yet it is close enough for you to have a reasonable perspective of the economy and the market.
  2. Identify the top three sectors within this trend that are most likely to beat the market. Consider the industries geographies and asset classes that will benefit from the current stage of the economic cycle These sectors will lead the market and is where you should focus your time. This will take some homework on your part evaluating the economy and industries. Many professional investors use sector rotation as a part of their strategy.
  3. Pick ETFs from the sectors identified in step 2, choosing at least 3 but no more than 10 to include in your model ETF portfolio. The exact number depends on the ones available and the time you have to monitor them. The more you pick the more time you should spend on monitoring each ETF. Over time, you will add new ETFs to this list, so it is best to start with a few and add to that number over time. I like to have no more than 10 to 15% in each ETF in my portfolio, though that is not a hard and fast rule. Depending on your assessment of the market, you might own 20% of an ETF that you believe will perform especially well.
  4. Select the optimal buy, stop and exit targets for each ETF. These prices frame the risk-reward of your investing decision. The idea is to buy on dips in the price to get the best price. Then use trailing stops that initially protect against a loss. Later, when your ETF has risen in price, the trailing stop can help you capture your profit should the market suddenly fall. The exit targets provide a price level to take profits as your ETF reaches its high point in the cycle. I like to sell half of my position at the first exit target to be sure I capture some profit. This money is used to buy a sector ETF that is about to begin its cyclical climb. I let the remaining half run further using the trailing stop or the second target to close the position.
  5. Manage your model ETF portfolio. This does not mean you should watch the ETF price each day. Rather you continue to do your homework on the overall market, each sector, and your ETFs, seeking issues that would cause you to change your investing theme. As you pass each three-month anniversary of your purchase of an ETF, ask yourself the question: “Knowing what I know now, and the price at which these ETFs currently trade, would I be willing to invest new money into the sector under these circumstances if I didn’t already own a position?” If the answer is no, you need to examine long and hard your reasons for holding the fund. As time goes by, you will add to your ETF portfolio from the sectors and geographies that are doing well and sell those that are reaching the end of their current trend. Using this approach your ETF portfolio stays in the best sectors and moves away from the sectors that are reaching their peak or turning down.

Building a model ETF portfolio takes time and patience. By taking these steps, you build a model ETF portfolio that remains positioned to take advantage of the cyclical nature of the market. Get started today, since you are responsible for your financial future.

Our Strong Sector Portfolio for our Premier Members employs an ETF sector rotation strategy that has beaten the market every year. If you are interested, we offer a no risk, free four-week trial. You have nothing to lose and money to make.

Annual subscription is a 20% discount over the 3 month rate or $0.30 per day.