In the short term, the market appears overbought and may be presented with resistance at the prior highs. In addition, the seasonality component of the dreaded summer months may provide another level of concern when contemplating the next price cycle. This could lead to increasing bouts of volatility as we saw at the beginning of April, which opportunistic investors can use to their advantage when establishing new positions.
Without a doubt, the long-term trend of stocks is higher and the bull market remains intact. Within that framework, I have a healthy allocation to equities for myself and clients that include both domestic and international exposure using exchange-traded funds.
Right now I am eschewing momentum sectors like biotechnology, solar and social media stocks because of their heightened volatility. Instead, I am focusing on stalwart areas such as dividend-paying stocks, low-volatility equities and other value areas.
Two of my favorite dividend-oriented ETFs are the iShares International Select Dividend ETF (IDV) and First Trust Nasdaq Technology Dividend Fund (TDIV). IDV gives you access to dividend-paying stocks of foreign developed countries while TDIV is focused on domestic technology companies that are returning profits to shareholders.
If you have a healthy dose of cash on the sidelines, I think it makes sense to build out your watch list and look to average into new positions or add to core holdings on weakness. The additional volatility this year should be used to your advantage by purchasing dips of sectors or stocks that have favorable price trends. Buying short-term weakness when the larger technical picture is still intact can improve your chances of a successful investment.
In addition, I always recommend setting a stop loss or using a sell discipline to mitigate the risk of a more protracted decline. There is always a chance that we see a larger-scale pullback that breeds further downside momentum.
The total return of stocks in 2014 has been fairly tepid. However, there have been a number of opportunities for investors to enhance their returns through strategic positioning or tactical purchases. Keep that in mind as we make our way through the remainder of the year.
At the time of publication the author had positions in TDIV and IDV.
This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.