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Alpha-Oriented ETFs in a Beta-Dominated Stock Market

NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- If I spent more time on Twitter, I might react to media commentary as follows:

1. Fundamentals? LOL! RT @YahooFinance. Investors now concentrate on fundamentals after weeks when Federal Reserve policies dominated markets.

2. Did not matter in Q1. RT @CNBC. This might be time when the market takes its lumps for not showing real sales growth.

3. Raising rates and strengthening currency? Better run to Japan or U.S. RT@DowJones. Turkey Signals Interest-Rate Rise.

One of the few market watchers who is calling a spade a spade is technical analyst, Walter Zimmerman. He said, "... we're in the terminal stages of a Bernanke-driven bubble." I won't say that I agree with the notion that we have entered the terminal stages -- that may be far too bearish an assessment. Yet Bernanke-driven bubble hits the center of the dartboard's bulls-eye.

The macroeconomy is barely expanding. Gross domestic product (GDP) over the last three quarters has been roughly 0.4%, 1.8% and 1.1% -- so slow that one has to question those in the economic improvement camp. The microeconomic corporate picture is experiencing deceleration in profits and stagnation in sales. Why should stock prices climb any higher with weakness in actual results as well as guidance that is likely to be particularly guarded? (Silly me, I forgot that the Fed intends to remain ultra-accommodative for the foreseeable future.)

One thing that Zimmerman missed in his descriptive phrase "the Bernanke-driven balloon" is the reality that Bernanke (or a successor) will only receive an appointment for a second term if he/she continues voting in favor of QE.

Congress will not pass any stimulus bills before the November 2014 election. Heck, it could not even avoid sequestration. And that means ... the Federal Reserve is the only game in town -- the only body capable of propping up real estate, stock prices and big-ticket items like auto.

So if earnings mean very little, and if the Fed has no intention of slowing down bond purchasing or altering ZIRP (zero interest rate policy), do you stay aggressively allocated to U.S. stock ETFs? Do you hunt for bargain ETFs, or stick with the most popular names such as S&P 500 Trust (SPY) and Vanguard Total Market (VTI)?

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