ETF Portfolio Ideas for the Year Ahead

Stringer, though, anticipates that the bullish conditions in the U.S. may continue as a strengthening economy keeps chugging along. Stringer projects real GDP growth for the rest of 2017 and 2018 should hover around 2.0% to 2.5% at a 2.0% inflation rate. Current signals suggest an uptick in economic activity into next year on increased consumer spending and business investment, which should translate over to rising potential for corporate revenue and earnings growth.

As investors consider portfolio allocations, Stringer suggests people should establish an expense budget or save on broad, cheap core positions so one can spend on more esoteric ideas. For example, Stringer favors current themes like small- and mid-cap, along with high quality corporate debt as core ideas. ETF investors can track these areas with options like SPDR Portfolio Mid Cap ETF (NYSEArca: SPMD), which has a 0.05% expense ratio, and SPDR Portfolio Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: SPIB), which has a 0.07% expense ratio.

On the other hand, investors may also consider opportunities in overseas markets. Broad developed ex-U.S. equities, including key regioanl sub-sets, are trading near or below their 10th percentile price-to-book relative to the U.S.

Beyond valuations, international fundamentals also look strong. For the first time since the financial crisis, the economies of all 45 countries tracked by the OECD are expected to grow, with 33 countries anticipated to see growth rates accelerate, the highest number since 2010.

Bryan Novak, CAIA, Senior Managing Director of Astor Investment Management, pointed out that the Eurozone economy has seen accelerated expansion, and China, the second largest economy in the world, moderated in the first half and appears to have stabilized. Overall, Novak argued that low interest rates globally still support risk premiums in global equities. Looking ahead, he pointed to a diverse market segment exposure for portfolio allocations, with an increased focus on international exposure.

Investors interested in a cheap and diversified international ETF option may consider something like the SPDR Portfolio World ex-US ETF (NYSEArca: SPDW), which has a 0.04% expense ratio, for broad international exposure or something like the SPDR Portfolio Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: SPEM), which has a 0.11% expense ratio, for a cheap emerging market position.

Financial advisors who are interested in learning more about low-cost portfolio construction can watch the webcast here on demand.