As the bull market grows long in the tooth and depressed volatility fuels rising complacency, investors can consider real assets and related ETFs to diversify and hedge a potentially equity-heavy portfolio.
“Risks of an aging bull market and record low volatility may spur investors to diversify into real assets for protection,” Maxwell Gold, Director of Investment Strategy for ETF Securities, said in a research note. “Rising inflationary pressures may benefit real assets. Real assets remain cheap relative to financial assets.”
The current U.S. bull market rally is the second longest on record and is now approach its 9th year. Consequently, more wary investors are beginning to question how much longer this equity run can continue uninterrupted. Further fueling concerns, the record low market volatility has added to thoughts of an increasingly complacent market condition.
Consequently, Gold argued that investors should consider real assets as a portfolio diversifier since they exhibit low correlation to both U.S. equities and fixed-income assets and would provide downside protection against a spike in volatility in financial assets.
Related: A Familiar Gold Catalyst is Still in Play
For instance, investors who want to use precious metals as a short-term hedge and even a long-term play may consider a number of physically backed metals-related ETFs as a way to diversify a traditional stock and portfolio, including ETFS Physical Swiss Gold Shares (NYSEArca: SGOL), ETFS Physical Silver Shares (NYSEArca: SIVR), ETFS Physical Platinum Shares (NYSEArca: PPLT) and ETFS Physical Palladium Shares (NYSEArca: PALL). ETF investors can also use the ETFS Physical Precious Metals Basket Shares (NYSEArca: GLTR) as a catch-all of all four precious metals.