Most portfolios have taken hits over the past five weeks.
The S&P 500 Index was down 3.1% in May and was down an additional 0.5% thus far in June.
And many individual stocks and actively managed equity funds have sustained even bigger declines because of the recent selloffs.
Can you expect additional corrections this year? More importantly, how can you defend yourself from this kind of volatility?If you have not already done so, be sure to include "dividend indices" and "value indices" in your portfolio. In fact, this may be a good time to buy these specialized indices. They make excellent additions to your portfolio in volatile times. A "dividend index" is an index of the 50 to 100 highest dividend-yielding stocks. A "value index" is essentially a basket of equities having lower-than-average prices as determined by their price-to-book and price-to-earnings ratios. "Value" stocks are deemed to be reasonably priced vis-a-vis real earnings. By comparison, "growth" stocks trade at higher multiples to earnings. Although value stocks and value indices focus on attractive pricing relative to actual earnings being achieved now, growth stocks and growth indices focus on "future potential." Here is a picture of how several different index funds and exchange-traded funds have fared thus far in 2006.
|Ports in a Storm
Value and dividend indexes hold up better in down markets.
|Symbol||Fund or ETF||Performance|
|1 Month||YTD||12 Months||3 Years Annualized|
|vfinx||Vanguard 500 Index||-4.48%||2.02%||7.38%||10.37%|
|fsmkx||Fidelity Spartan 500 Index||-4.47%||2.06%||7.47%||10.41%|
|vtsmx||Vanguard Total Stock Market Index||-5.08%||2.45%||9.03%||12.06%|
|dvy||iShares Dow Jones Dividend Index||-2.34%||3.94%||5.65%||NA|
|vivax||Vanguard Value Index Fund||-3.39%||5.24%||11.69%||14.15%|