No Jobs For Labor Day

by on September 3, 2011 | ETFs Mentioned:

Grim jobs data on Friday put stocks in a hole right from the opening bell as investors were quite displeased to see that the U.S. economy did not add any jobs in August. Nonfarm payrolls were unchanged for the month, posting the weakest performance in labor payroll data since September of 2010. Unemployment is sitting still at 9.1% and recent slumps in manufacturing and consumer confidence are all factors that are bound to put the pressure on Ben Bernanke to consider another round of economic stimulus. Gold futures were fairly range bound for much of the week, although the yellow metal did surge prior to Wall Street’s open on Friday, settling around $1,880 an ounce.

Actionable ETF Trade Ideas

Last Week’s Actionable ETF Ideas
Ticker Position Performance







Our ideas from the Monday edition of ETF Insider held up reasonably well during another volatile week on Wall Street. Our technical analysis of VIG helped us get out at just the right time, while our other two picks posted mixed results, although we remain bullish on the grains sub-group. [sign up for a free trial of ETFdb Pro to get actionable ETF ideas every Monday, as well as access to more than 20 all-ETF model portfolios].

Trade #1 Long VIG: Up 2.2%

This recommendation went according to plan and we were able to lock in a solid 2.2% gain in a mater of days, prudently taking profits before selling pressures hit equities during the last two days of the trading week. After peaking at around $52.77 a share, our prediction was $52.50, VIG saw a wave of profit taking, bringing it down closer towards $50 a share by the end of Friday. We’re keeping our eyes on this ETF, and we would advise investors to wait and see how it holds support at the $50 level before jumping in again.

Trade #2 Long JJG: Down 1.6%

Patience is a virtue and our recommendation to long JJG may already be frustrating some investors. This ETF got off to a strong start on Monday, however, it failed to break out past the $56 level as we would have liked, and on Thursday selling pressures hit the brakes and JJG dipped down to $54 a share. The fund remains above its 200-day moving average and we are holding onto this position as long as it manages to establish support above $55 a share some time next week.

Trade #3 Short IEI: Down 0.5%

This was our fundamentally defensive pick for the week, and this trade has moved against us given the lack of investor confidence in equity markets, seeing as how U.S. Treasury funds across the board have risen higher this week despite the ample gains in the stock market. It’s a bit worrisome to see Treasury funds rise alongside a shaky market, since it may suggest that further downside is likely given that investors aren’t fully flowing back into stocks. Instead, they are playing it safe and ready to jump ship in case the next round of economic data disappoints again.

ETFdb Portfolios

Retirement ETFdb Portfolios

This week was bumpy for stocks but our retirement focused portfolios held up quite well, with all of them finishing in positive territory for the week. Our portfolios with heftier equity allocations are still lagging behind from a year-to-date perspective, with our Ready To Retire portfolio leading the way.

ETFdb Portfolio Weekly Return YTD Return
Cheapskate 0.93% n/a
Aggressive 0.86% -5.80%
Moderate 0.81% -1.31%
30 Years To Retirement 0.76% -4.21%
Ready To Retire 0.70% 2.48%
20 Years To Retirement 0.69% -4.21%
10 Years To Retirement 0.58% -2.54%
5 Years To Retirement 0.25% -1.56%

Themed Portfolio

Performance among our themed ETFdb Portfolios was quite strong this week, with our our Emerging & Frontier Markets portfolio leading the way, although from a year-to-date perspective most remain in deep red territory. Our newest Simple (But Effective) Safe Haven portfolio has the best track record so far in 2011, suggesting that investors have largely shifted to a more “risk-averse” strategy.

ETFdb Portfolio Weekly Return YTD Return
Emerging & Frontier Markets 1.96% -5.36%
Equal Weight 1.40% n/a
Black Swan Hyperinflation 1.28% 6.08%
Simple (But Effective) Safe Haven 1.26% 9.69%
Ex-Europe 0.97% -2.29%
High Yield 0.95% 0.38%
Sky Is Falling 0.83% 6.63%
Asia Centric 0.77% -5.63%
Ex-U.S 0.70% -5.19%
Small Cap 0.48% n/a
High Tax Bracket 0.39% -2.13%
Alpha-Seeker 2.0 0.31% -2.71%
RAFI 0.25% -11.82%
Actively Managed -0.02% -12.13%

New ETF Highlights

August continues to be a slow month on the product development front with yet another week with no new ETF launches. The summer season is nearing an end, however, and we anticipate a busy fall for investors, as a round of first-to-market products are expected to launch over the coming weeks, with even more exciting offerings down the pipeline. Check out our ETF Launch Center for complete updates on all new ETFs.

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.