NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Although the U.S. markets have enjoyed some small doses of strength over the course of the week, caution remains warranted as we look ahead.
With Greece's debt woes still dominating headlines and weighing on sentiment, the need for protection is essential. There are a number of ways investors can use ETFs in order to both defend against the market's current shakiness and prepare for strength on the horizon.
Dividend-paying equities and other income-oriented investing options, for instance, may appeal to investors looking to construct such an all-weather portfolio. Here are five ETF options investors may want to consider when attempting to target yield.
iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund
DVY is dedicated to providing investors with expansive and well-balanced exposure to some of the most recognizable dividend-paying companies available. Top holdings include
Although the fund's dedication to large, stable firms makes it an attractive option for conservative-minded investors looking to track economic strength, DVY also benefits during periods of economic commotion. The fund's yield, which currently tops 3%, will provide some welcomed comfort when headwinds loom.
JPMorgan Alerian MLP Index ETN
Natural gas is a consistently popular corner of the energy markets. By using AMJ retail investors can target a collection of companies responsible for storing and transporting the fuel. As an added bonus, AMJ provides investors with a nearly 5% yield.
The ample distribution associated with AMJ stems from the fund's dedicated exposure to the master-limited partnership industry. MLPs pass through a major percentage of their profits to shareholders in the form of distributions. Therefore, it is not surprising that companies like
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners
have become a popular destinations for investors looking to pad their portfolios with stable income.
While it is possible to directly invest in companies like KMP, it is crucial to note that investors doing so will receive a K-1 form at tax time.
Because of AMJ's ETN structure, investors needn't worry about any additional tax-related headaches. Distributions from this product are reported as ordinary income and therefore require no extra paperwork.
iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond Index Fund
High-yield corporate debt is a popular destination for risk-tolerant investors seeking steady income. Designed to target this corner of the bond market, HYG sets aside exposure to the sub-investment grade rated debt of a vast array of companies. The fund's portfolio lists nearly 500 individual holdings.
Although the threat of a bond default looms over HYG, I do not foresee such an event occurring on a large scale in the near future. By keeping exposure small and focused, investors can safely benefit from the fund's nearly 8% yield.
iShares S&P U.S. Preferred Stock Index Fund
There are only a handful of ETFs available for investors looking to target preferred stock and PFF stands out as the strongest option.
Whereas competing products like the
PowerShares Financial Preferred Portfolio
is dedicated solely to the financial industry, PFF utilizes a slightly more diversified approach to tracking this asset class. The 15% of PFF's portfolio not focused on the financial industry is spread across companies from sectors including consumer discretionary, industrial, and utilities.
Ultimately, investors will need a strong appetite for financials in order to stomach any preferred share-focused ETF. However, the fund's 7% yield may make it worth the risk.
Guggenheim Canadian Energy Income ETF
Income-focused investors looking to expand their reach beyond the borders of the U.S. may want to put the ENY on the radar. This unique fund is designed to target Canada's lucrative energy industry. According to this fund's Website, this is achieved by combining exposure to Canada's highest yielding energy producers and fastest-growing oil sands players.
Top holdings include Canadian Oil Sands,
and Meg Energy Corp.
Currently, ENY's yield is in excess of 2%.
Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management owned the iShares Dow Jones Select Dividend Index Fund.