How to Protect Your Gains In the ETF and Market Rally | ETF Trends

So, you took some positions in exchange traded funds (ETFs) when the S&P 500 moved above its 200-day moving average, and perhaps you’ve made some gains. How can you go about protect your profits?

While investors aren’t heading for the exits, talk of a potential correction persists. But if you’re in the markets now, you have participated in the rally. (And if you’re not in, read about rebuilding your portfolio here). And like most investors, you probably want to protect those gains, not lose them.

Jeff Cox for CNBC has seven ideas on how to keep your gains safe, and we’ve thrown in some of our own, as well:

1. Emerging/Overseas Markets: Investors are moving away from a solely domestic portfolio, and moving assets overseas to cultivate diversity and keep exposure to foreign markets. By remaining quick and conservative, the markets such as China or Russia can help spread out the risk. Read about their economies here).

  • iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEArca: EEM)

2. Energy: This sector remains to be a mainstay within a portfolio, as crude prices will stay low in the near term but could go significantly higher when supply becomes an issue again. Find out what may happen with oil prices here).

  • United States Oil (NYSEArca: USO)

3. Choose ETFs: While some market pros now are cautioning against playing the entire market and suggest choosing single stocks instead, consider ETFs. Choosing a winning stock in a sector can be a daunting challenge, while an ETF can give you instant exposure while spreading out the risk.

4. Play Defense: Security can be found in names that traditionally provide security while the market looks for further direction. Consider what’s happening in consumer staples: consumers are staying at home, cooking more meals in and buying those old familiar name brands.

5. Gold: Gold prices have risen along with the stock market and economic indicators, indicating that investors want some downside protection should the rally fade. This has pushed the price of gold to new records. Can the rally go on? Read about it here.

  • SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD)

6. Homebuilders: This beaten-down sector is poised to go higher, however, supply has a lot to do with it. While there have been a slew of factors cited—leveling in prices, low mortgage rates, government intervention—supply and demand will be the key in a true recovery for this sector.

  • SPDR Homebuilders (NYSEArca: XHB)

7. Technology: Consumer electronics was the 11th strongest sector in the third quarter, up 44%. Some believe that this sector will continue to move higher.

  • Vanguard Information Technology (NYSEArca:VGT)

8. Have an exit strategy. We use the 200-day moving average as a guide for when to get in and when to be out of the markets. For more ideas about trend following and creating a defensive strategy, check out the The ETF Trend Following Playbook, on shelves now.

For more stories about portfolio protection, visit our trend following category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.