Investors thinking about putting their money to work in a rising rate environment should opt for technology and financial services exchange traded funds, said Heidi Richardson, head of U.S. Investment Strategy for iShares.
The long awaited Fed rate hike is now absolutely possible in December, following strong nonfarm payroll data last week. The market pricing for a December liftoff jumped up to 70% after the data release, up from 50% several days ago.
"I don't think investors should fight the Fed, I think they should embrace it," said Richardson. "It creates risks in some investments but it also creates great opportunities in both equities and fixed income."
Richardson said U.S. technology companies may be poised to outperform when rates rise, in large part due to their cash reserves and strong balance sheets. She said the third-quarter earnings season has confirmed that the one sector which stands out as a bright spot is technology.
"Technology is a pro-cyclical sector that stands to benefit from continued economic improvement," said Richardson. "It also is well positioned for the higher borrowing costs that will result when rates rise due to the non-reliance on debt financing."
Richardson said the financial services sector is reasonably valued and could stand to benefit when rates rise. She said banks generally benefit from a rising-rate environment because the difference between what they charge lenders and pay depositors generally increases, potentially increasing profits. Furthermore, as balance sheets become healthier and lending spreads widen, banks, insurers and money managers are uniquely positioned to profit from rising rates.
"The IYG is loaded up with a lot of regional banks which are poised for growth," said Richardson. "Once the Fed raises interest rates, they can charge more on their loans, but they are not going to do the equivalent increase for the depositors so the net interest margin generally improves."