SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIA) fell 0.4%, SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) slipped 0.2% and PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) edged 0.1% lower. Small caps, however, fared better: iShares Core S&P Small-Cap (IJR) and iShares Russell 2000 (IWM) rose 0.5% and 0.6%, respectively.
Gold miners, consumer staples and retailers were among the biggest sector fund losers in the stock market today. SPDR S&P Retail (XRT) stumbled 0.5% as it continues to meet resistance at its 50-day moving average. Component stocks Dollar Tree (DLTR) and Ross Stores (ROST) fell sharply after their quarterly results, though Ross’ drop was due to disappointing Q1 sales guidance.
Metals miners, banks and biotechs were among advancing sectors. SPDR S&P Metals & Mining (XME) rose 1.3%, extending its gains since reclaiming its 50-day line on Tuesday. SPDR S&P Regional Bank (KRE) advanced 0.6% to a new high.
You don’t necessarily need to pick one. With certain U.S. diversified exchange traded funds, you can own all three, and then some.
Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI) reclaimed its 50-day moving average on Tuesday. A solid move above the line could mark a potential buy opportunity, though all purchases are at greater risk than normal with the market uptrend under pressure. Also note the steep decline from its late-January high to Feb. 9 low, when the fund briefly undercut its 200-day moving average.
Likewise, many stocks and funds fell hard during the market correction early last month. However, such pullbacks can create future opportunities. VTI advanced 12% from a mid-November rebound off its 50-day line to the late-January peak.
The $94.8 billion fund, which tracks the CRSP U.S. Total Market Index, will turn 17 years old in May. The ETF offers exposure to small-, mid- and large-cap U.S. equities across growth and value styles. Morningstar Direct classifies VTI in the large blend category. Its average market cap is $59.1 billion, compared with the category average of $126 billion.
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Financials accounted for the biggest chunk of assets as of Jan. 31 at 20%, followed by 19% in technology and about 13% each in consumer services, health care and industrials. Smaller positions in consumer goods, oil & gas, utilities, basic materials and telecommunications made up the rest.
Its top 10 holdings included the three mentioned above, as well as Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM). The top 10 represented nearly 18% of total net assets. Amazon has outperformed with a year-to-date gain of 32% through March 6. Microsoft is up 9%, JPMorgan 8%, and Alphabet 5%.
Amazon closed at a record high on Tuesday. Apple is 2% off its late-February intraday high, but has thus far been unable to close above the 180 level.
VTI’s 1.9% year-to-date return slightly trails the S&P 500’s 2.1% gain as of Monday. Its average annual returns over the past three and five years are also just behind the S&P index. But its 10- and 15-year returns are slightly ahead of the S&P 500. VTI’s expense ratio is 0.04%.
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