Downtrodden MLP ETFs May Offer Long-Term Opportunity

MLPs primarily deal with the distribution and storage of energy products, so their business model is less reliant on the commodities market since MLPs profit off the quantity of oil and natural gas they are able to move around. Consequently, MLPs have historically shown a weaker correlation to energy prices over longer periods as MLPs act more like energy toll roads, profiting on the volume of oil moving through their pipelines.

“We believe midstream MLPs are trading at levels that reflect the distress in the energy sector,” Butterfill said. “By virtue of the resilience of their revenue streams, current valuations on EV/EBITDA basis and managed debt levels, midstream MLPs are well positioned to appreciate given a turnaround in stressed capital markets and sentiment.”

For instance, energy infrastructure or master limited partnerships, such as the JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN (NYSEArca: AMJ) and Alerian MLP ETF (NYSEArca: AMLP) have declined 37.0% and 32.0% over the past year as West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices decreased close to 50% and the S&P 500 energy sector dropped almost 20%.

Looking at the precious metals space, Butterfill pointed out that gold has made a great run as a defensive asset, but bullion is now fairly priced and could remain flat from here on out unless sentiment changes. The strategist pointed to factors like inflation, speculative positioning, foreign exchange rates, a so-called Brexit or an elected non-establishment president like Donald Trump could further roil the precious metals market.

The ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEArca: SGOL) has increased 18.9% year-to-date, with Comex gold futures now trading at around $1,253.9 per ounce.