For those interested in low-volatility strategies, there are a number of ETFs available that track more steady segments of the markets. For instance, the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: USMV) selects stocks based on variances and correlations, along with other risk factors. The competing PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPLV) tracks the 100 least volatile stocks on the S&P 500.

The low-vol ETF strategy has also been outperforming, or at least they have not retreated as much as the broader market. Year-to-date, SPLV dipped 1.5% and USMV fell 1.0% while the S&P 500 declined 5.0%.

Investors can also target European market exposure through the iShares MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: EUMV). Additionally, the relatively new PowerShares Europe Currency Hedged Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: FXEU) hedges against currency risks as well as targeting 80 of the least volatile stocks taken from the S&P Eurozone BMI Index.

ETF investors can also take the low volatility theme to broader overseas markets. The low-volatility ETFs have helped soften the blow from the global sell-off. For example, the the PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: IDLV) and iShares MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: EFAV) provide a low-volatile option for developed overseas markets.

Additionally, investors can target emerging market exposure through the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEArca: EEMV) and PowerShares S&P Emerging Markets Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: EELV).

However, potential investors should be aware that since these ETFs focus more more slow and stable companies, the low volatility strategy may underperform more growth-oriented stocks if the markets turn around.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters!
Please enter your email address to subscribe to ETF Trends' newsletters featuring latest news and educational events.