The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- Forget the idea that the economy will contract in upcoming quarters ... at least for a moment. And put aside the idea that housing prices have yet to bottom out. Instead, let's focus entirely on the price movement of a premier benchmark in this year's stock market correction. Specifically, U.S. stocks in the S&P 500 fell from a May 2 intraday peak of 1370 to an Aug. 9 intraday low of 1101, shedding a confidence-shaking 19.6%. That's not quite enough damage to constitute a bear. Nevertheless, it is a three-month period with very few fans beyond the short-selling crowd. By the end of August, however, the large-cap index had clawed its way back to 1230. What's more, the price of the S&P 500 tested the 1230 area for several days but simply couldn't break on through to the upside. > > Bull or Bear? Vote in Our Poll What makes this worthy of note? Resistance has been strongest at a point where the price is down 10% from the May 2 intraday high. It follows that institutional traders have outlined a trading range for the S&P 500 (1233-1096) whereby the markers constitute the very definition for a correction (1233) and/or a new bear (1096). Unfortunately for some, there's no reason to expect a definitive market trend any time soon. Hedge fund movers and shakers, high-frequency trading enthusiasts and mutual fund managers (via redemptions) are likely to keep everyone guessing in September. It follows that you should not be looking to add much risk right now. That said, individual securities are giving indications about ETFs you may still consider. For example, on Thursday, Sept. 8, Coca-Cola ( KO), Colgate Palmolive ( CL) and National Beverage Corp ( FIZZ) each hit new 52-week highs. An ETF investor may choose to tap SPDR Select Consumer Staples ( XLP), or even a niche fund like PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage ( PBJ). Although gold stocks have a weak correlation with the precious commodity itself (0.35) over the past year, miners have been coming back to life. Some credit the increase in dividends; others explain that gold's dollar value appreciation inevitably affects producers in a positive way. Goldcorp ( GG), Yamana Gold ( AUY), Newmont Mining ( NEM) and Barrick Gold ( ABX) all hit 52-week pinnacles. Without question, the activity is benefiting Market Vectors Gold Miners ( GDX).
Lastly, the Fed's explicit guidance for 0% rates into 2013 has created a mad scramble for yield. Nearly half of the new 52-week highs on the NYSE are preferred-stock shares, including Public Storage preferred (PSA-PE), Gabelli Dividend & Income Trust preferred (GDV-PA) and Alabama Power preferred (ALP-PLN). Although there are three suitable ETFs for an aggregate ETF for the preferred-shares space, the same dilemma that existed in 2008 exists in 2011: Roughly 75% of all preferred shares come from the financial company arena. For instance, sift through the top holdings of the iShares Preferred ETF ( PFF) and you will find issuers such as Deutsche Bank ( DB), HSBC Holdings ( HBC), Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan Chase ( JPM). Personally, I see J.P. Morgan Chase preferred shares as golden. Yet Merrill Lynch? With Bank of America receiving (requiring?) capital from Warren Buffett? And German bank exposure to European sovereign debt doesn't make me fawn over Deutsche Bank. In essence, with so much exposure to financial companies, you may not want to put up with the volatility of a preferred-stock ETF at this time. Individual preferred issues that yield hunters may like include utilities like Constellation Energy (CEG-PA) and DTE Energy (DTE-PA). You can listen to the ETF Expert Radio Show "LIVE", via podcast or on your iPod. You can follow me on Twitter @ETFexpert.